LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The lawyers who secured a $45 million settlement for Marlboro Lights smokers in Arkansas have asked a judge to decide how much they should be paid.
The lawyers didn't ask for a specific amount in their payment petition last month, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2iQBov5 ) reported. But they said there is precedent that would allow them between $12.4 million and $30 million from the settlement fund, based on the value a judge places on their representation.
The lawyers said they worked more than 15,000 hours, valued at $10.2 million, and spent $2.2 million of their own money to pursue the litigation over 13 years.
According to the attorneys, the class-action lawsuit won compensation for smokers who may have turned to the Lights brand in hopes of getting a healthier product. The lawsuit accused Marlboro's parent company, Virginia-based Altria Group, of marketing the Lights brand as safer than normal cigarettes when that was not the case.
Lead Little Rock attorney Tom Thrash said the lawsuit also helped bring the nationwide downfall of the lights class of cigarettes banned by federal regulators as of 2010.
The attorneys' petition to the court also called the victory "truly extraordinary, succeeding where lawyers in 18 other jurisdictions had failed."
Along with their payment, the lawyers want a portion of the settlement to go to the two lead plaintiffs in the suit, as well as to Arkansas health agencies and anti-tobacco activists.
The lawyers will take up the question of their payment amount at a hearing scheduled for Jan. 17.