Edison Wants Denial of 401(k) Expert Fees to Stand

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By Carmen Castro-Pagan

Edison International is urging a federal appeals court to uphold a ruling denying a request to recover nearly $1 million for expert witnesses used during an 11-year litigation.

The district court didn’t abuse its discretion in denying class counsel’s request because it didn’t rely on any particular expert’s conclusions in ruling against Edison, the company said on its Nov. 29 brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Edison’s response is the latest development in a long-running lawsuit that challenged Edison’s management of its 401(k) plan.

The case had two trials and multiple trips to appeals courts. Recently, a class of 20,000 Edison workers won $13.2 million in damages and the company agreed to pay $5.8 million in attorneys’ fees.

Edison’s response comes one month after Schlichter Bogard & Denton LLP asked the Ninth Circuit to reverse a ruling that denied $964,212 in fee reimbursement to consulting and testifying expert witnesses whose opinions were allegedly necessary to its successful prosecution of the case.

The district court sufficiently explained the denial, and there is no basis to find an abuse of discretion, particularly where the fees will be taken out of the class’s recovery, Edison said.

Schlichter Bogard & Denton LLP, and Hill Farrer & Burrill LLP represent the workers. O’Melveny & Myers LLP represents Edison.

The case is Tibble v. Edison Int’l, 9th Cir., No. 18-55974, appellees’ brief 11/29/18.

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