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In Beninati, et al. v. Borghi, et al., Judge Sanders ruled that the plaintiffs in a successful action under G.L. c. 93A, § 11, were not entitled to recover $170,000 in attorneys’ fees incurred before the litigation began. The fees, according to the plaintiffs’ fee petition, related to “extensive settlement discussions” that predated the filing of the action. Judge Sanders wrote: “This Court is aware of no authority that permits the award of fees incurred before the litigation began and that do not bear directly on its preparation, which these fees clearly did not.”

In a Nexium class action against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Justice Sanders awarded $6 million in attorneys’ fees—30% of the $20 million common fund agreed to in a settlement achieved shortly before trial. Justice Sanders acknowledged that this was an “unprecedented” award for state court, but believed it was warranted by the facts of this case.

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