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Significant fees awarded to attorneys in class action

Attorneys who successfully represented a class of persons who alleged that carriers failed to disclose material information to policyholders of long-term care, or LTC, policies, to their detriment, were awarded up to $13 million in fees.


Plaintiffs filed a putative class action complaint against Genworth Life Insurance Company and Genworth Life Insurance Company of New York, alleging that defendants failed to disclose material information to LTC policyholders, to their detriment. The parties reached a settlement which the court preliminarily approved. Now before the court is class counsel’s application for an award of attorney’s fees and expenses and service awards to the named plaintiffs.


Plaintiffs request that class counsel be awarded a contingent fee of 15% “of certain amounts related to Special Election Options selected by the Class, which shall be no greater than $13 million.” Of note, “none of the attorneys’ fees will be deducted from the cash awards claimed by the Class Members, and instead will be paid separately by Genworth.” The defendant does not oppose this request and takes no position on the approval of class counsel’s attorneys’ fees.

To determine reasonableness, the court employs a seven-factor test that considers the results obtained and amount involved; small number of objections; skill and efficiency of attorneys involved; complexity and duration of the litigation; risk of non-payment and public policy; time devoted to the litigation and fees in similar cases. In this case, the court finds that each factor weighs in favor of finding the fees are reasonable. Based on the factor analysis and the lodestar cross-check, a 15 percent attorney’s fee is reasonable.


Class counsel requests reimbursement of $39,697.92 in costs. Class counsel included “expenditures for computer legal research, document reproduction, court reporting, consultant fees, and travel, meals, and lodging” in their tabulation of costs. The categories listed are consistent with the kinds of costs found to be reasonable in other litigation, and because the expenses have been shown to be both reasonable in amount and reasonably necessary, the court will award class counsel $39,697.92 in costs.

Service payments

Class counsel seeks a $15,000 service award for each of the four class representatives. Genworth does not oppose. This service award is appropriate in light of the time and risks class representatives have taken on to propel the litigation forward. It is also the same service award that the class representatives in a similar suit received.

Moreover, as class counsel notes, the class representatives actively participated in all aspects of the case, including pre- suit discovery, produced relevant documentation to include “extremely private financial and medical information,” and subjected themselves to “public attention and exposure of their personal information.” The class representatives have “amply fulfilled their duties, making the requested service award appropriate,” so the court will grant each of the class representatives a $15,000 service award.


Several persons object to the amount of requested attorneys’ fees, arguing that the request is too high. Two expand on that argument, explaining that the fee is too high because the relief obtained is not adequate. Another contends that the attorneys’ fees are simply a write-off for Genworth. One objects to the fee structure, and two believe that the class representative award is too high and thus unfair. The court overrules each objection.

Class counsel’s application for an award of attorney’s fees and expenses and service awards to the named plaintiffs granted. Objections overruled.

Haney v. Genworth Life Insurance Co., Case No. 3:22-cv-55, Jan. 30, 2023. EDVA at Richmond (Payne). VLW 023-3-039. 30 pp.

VLW 023-3-039