On Tuesday the federal government coughed up a $20 million settlement agreement with military veterans whose personal data was stolen from Veterans Affairs Department computer. Each veteran who signs on to the class action will get a payment of between $75 and $1,500 if they can prove that the risk of identity theft caused them some sort of emotional harm or financial burden. Not bad, considering the original class action asked for $1,000 per veteran, and the VA already offered to pay for a year of credit monitoring for each of the victims.
So what’re the lawyers taking home? According to the settlement documents, filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the class counsel has agreed not to ask for more than $5 million in fees and $500,000 for expenses when it heads to a fairness hearing in the case.
The firms due for a payday include: Murdoch, Goldenberg, Schneider & Groh from Cincinnati; Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart of Columbia, S.C.; The Mason Law Firm in Washington; Weiss & Laurie in New York; and Marc Mezibov, from The Law Offices of Marc Mezibov, also in Cincinnati.
The class action stems from a routine burglary in 2006, in which a laptop was stolen from the home of a Veterans Affairs Department data analyst. The computer and its external drive, which the analyst had taken home without permission, contained personal data such as birth dates and Social Security numbers for up to 26.5 million veterans and active duty service members.