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A federal judge has approved only 41 percent of what he called an “unusual” request for additional fees by Milberg for a 2006 settlement of a securities class action against Nortel Networks. Milberg, its Canadian co-counsel and the claims administrator had sought $2.77 million.

A federal judge has slashed what he called an “unusual” request for additional fees by Milberg for a 2006 settlement of a securities class action against Nortel Networks Corp.

Milberg, along with its Canadian co-counsel and the settlement’s claims administrator, asked for $2.77 million in fees and expenses not included in their 2007 fee applications. Southern District of New York Judge Richard M. Berman, citing the “very substantial” $38 million in fees and expenses already awarded to Milberg and Koskie Minsky, based in Toronto, approved only 41 percent of the request.

The settlement stemmed from lawsuits filed in 2001 over an accounting scandal at Nortel, a Canadian-based manufacturer of telecommunications equipment.

A spokeswoman for Milberg said lead partner Sanford P. Dumain was not available for comment. Murray Gold, a partner at Koskie Minsky, did not return a request for comment.

Judge Berman’s decision in In re Nortel Networks Corp. Securities Litigation (paid registration required), 01-cv-01855, is the latest development in attempts to recover fees for participation in the $2.4 billion settlement. Berman in 2007 rejected a request by Milberg for 8.5 percent of the settlement, or about $101 million, and instead set fees at 3 percent.

Milberg, which represented an Ontario public employee pension fund, appealed the award, which it deemed insufficient. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Berman’s award in 2008.

Milberg most recently requested an award for what it said was nearly $1.8 million in fees and expenses for work done from September 2006 through June 2010 after the firm filed its initial fee request. Koskie Minsky meanwhile sought $377,136 Canadian ($359,672 U.S.) in fees and expenses. The claims administrator, The Garden City Group, sought $656,700.

But Berman concluded that additional fees to the firms should be reduced or denied because their time sheets did not substantiate additional payments and because a significant portion of the fees were covered by the $34 million already awarded.

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