Lawyers in Apple ‘iPhone throttling’ class action settlement land $81 million in fees

Has there ever been a fee request attacked from more vantages than a motion last summer for $87.7 million by class counsel Cotchett and Kaplan Fox in a $310 million class action settlement over “iPhone throttling” with Apple? Objecting class members, 12 state attorneys general, tThe U.S. Justice Department (which urged the judge to remember that every dollar awarded to class counsel is a dollar that consumers will not receive), and even Apple opposed the fee request.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus was among those affected by iPhone throttling
Apple iPhone 6s Plus was among those affected by “iPhone throttling”

Alison Frankel for Reuters:

Cotchett and Kaplan Fox had answers for their multiplicity of critics, of course. They argued, among other things, that Apple didn’t have standing to object to the fees, which were to be paid by class members. The firms also asserted that the state AGs waited too long to brief the fee issue and gave class counsel vastly too little credit for the results they obtained. The plaintiffs’ firms said their $87.7 million fee request was just a little more than the 9th Circuit’s benchmark rate of 25% of the class recovery – a just reward, they said, for the cash they delivered to class members.

On Wednesday, the judge gave Cotchett and Kaplan Fox the best revenge. Davila awarded the firms $80.6 million in fees. It wasn’t quite the $87.7 million they had asked for – the judge said he could not swallow a 2.43 multiplier on the firms’ lodestar billings – but it was more than the typical percentage judges grant in mega-fund settlements topping $100 million. Indeed, $80.6 million works out to 26% of the $310 million that will go to the class

MacDailyNews Take: The lawyers get paid handsomely. Shocker.

Apple’s very and increasingly expensive lesson in customer communication – one that could have been completely avoided with the publication of a simple support document that explained the “iPhone throttling” feature – continues in the EU where the company has been sued for $217 million.

Apple handled this poorly and deserves to learn a lesson so that the company properly communicates with customers in the future.MacDailyNews, August 1, 2019

There’s no excusing this one. Apple deserves the ongoing headache. Hopefully, when all is said and done and paid, the company will have learned an important lesson about transparency and communication with their customers.MacDailyNews, February 27, 2018

You can see why some think that Apple wanted to keep what they were doing a secret. If people knew that a $79 battery replacement would give them an iPhone that performed like it did on day one, a meaningful percentage would take that option versus buying a new iPhone. Now that it’s just $29 this year, that percentage will naturally increase.

Then again, as Hanlon’s razor states: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

Apple’s made up of people. People are imperfect. We’ll take Apple’s word for it that they “always wanted… customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible” and that they “have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.” — MacDailyNews, January 3, 2018

Again, it’s Apple’s lack of communication that is the problem here. If Apple had clearly explained what was going on in the software, we’d know to recommend a battery replacement when users complained their older iPhones were getting “slow.” As it was, we were pretty much left to assume that the processor/RAM wasn’t up to par with demands of newer iOS releases and we’d naturally recommend getting a new iPhone.

Just yesterday, we had a friend complain that his iPhone 6 was acting “slow” and we knew to recommend a battery replacement (even though he instead opted to get himself an iPhone X on our strong recommendation).MacDailyNews, December 29, 2017

As has almost always been the case with Apple, unfortunately, transparency comes later, not sooner, and usually as a reaction to negative publicity. A simple Knowledge Base article would have preempted all of this Reddit sleuthing and the attendant handwringing and erroneous presumptions.MacDailyNews, December 20, 2017


  1. “The lawyers get paid handsomely. Shocker.”

    Here’s some more ‘shockers’ MDN.

    For what they do:

    Vain Hollywood malcontent actors/actresses get paid handsomely.
    Pointless Take a Knee SJW Athletes get paid handsomely.
    Useless Opinionated Screechy Singers get paid handsomely.
    Masturbating News Anchors from corporate media get paid handsomely.

    And in conclusion,

    Corrupt Career Federal grifting criminal politicians selling the country to a foreign nation while making millions under the guise of public service, they or their family/relatives are getting rewarded handsomely. Shocker! Absolute Shocker!!!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.