Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BULLETIN: FINAL ‘FAIRNESS HEARING’ POSTPONED

Plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel Michael Boni today informed the objectors’ attorney, Charles Chalmers, that Judge Daniels “has adjourned the final fairness hearing and has not rescheduled it.”

This followed a conference among the settlement parties this morning in the judge’s chambers. Last Friday, subsequent to the filing of our objection papers, we were told that the parties were seeking an audience with Judge Daniels to introduce a “minor change” in the settlement agreement.

Chalmers, naturally, objected to the procedural irregularity of this proposed “ex parte” meeting and requested that any discussions between the settlement parties and the judge be put on the record. That was Sunday night. There was silence all day yesterday, followed by Boni’s email today to Chalmers.

Boni told Chalmers that on July 28, at the time originally scheduled for the fairness hearing, “the Court will hear a motion by plaintiffs for preliminary approval of the settlement as amended. Plaintiffs expect to file that motion and supporting papers by the end of the week. The Court requested that objectors be notified that they do not have to appear at this hearing on the 28th of July, but may do so if they wish.”

So … Is this a “minor” tweak of the settlement agreement -- or a substantial revision? Will all of us learn the details and the substance this time around, or are we in for another round of “hide the ball” and guessing games?

And might this double-clutch be a response to our objections? Just perhaps?

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