LeFoll v. Key Hyundai of Manchester LLC
A court can award attorneys' fees to plaintiffs' class counsel in a class-action suit. In June 2009, the plaintiff, Gail LeFoll, purchased a Hyundai Sonata from the defendant, Key Hyundai of Manchester, and signed a retail installment contract. Allegedly, the printed contract did not clearly disclose the date when the first payment was owed, because that part of the contract was printed over pre-existing text. The plaintiff filed a class-action suit, on behalf of herself and similarly situated consumers, alleging that the defendants failed to clearly disclose when the first payments were owed, in violation of TILA, the Truth in Lending Act, and CUTPA, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Previously, the District Court granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs on the TILA count, because the defendants failed to "clearly and conspicuously" disclose the first payment date. "The printed due dates," wrote the court in the earlier decision, "range from indistinct to indiscernible," and "an average, reasonable person could not find any of the disclosures to be clear and conspicuous." There were 103 class members. One class member decided to opt out. Service could not be effectuated on another class member. The parties requested court approval of a proposed settlement agreement. The defendants did not admit any fault, liability or wrongdoing. The court held a hearing and concluded that the proposed settlement agreement was fair, reasonable and adequate. The court awarded $44,000 to plaintiffs' counsel and ordered counsel to account for the distribution of settlement proceeds.