Diversity Ordered for Class Action Counsel

Posted on: October 5th, 2010 by Steve Larson

In the case In re Gildan Activewear Inc. Securities Litigation, Judge Baer’s order appoints class counsel, and imposes a diversity requirement on the plaintiffs’ firms (Robbins Geller and Labaton Sucharow). The relevant language:

“WHEREAS this proposed class includes thousands of participants, both male and female, arguably from diverse backgrounds, and it is therefore important to all concerned that there is evidence of diversity, in terms of race and gender, in the class counsel I appoint, see In re J.P. Morgan Chase Cash Balance Litigation, 242 FRD 265, 277 (S.D.N.Y. 2007); it is hereby”

“ORDERED that Co-Lead Counsel, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and Labaton Sucharow LLP, shall make every effort to assign to this matter at least one minority lawyer and one woman lawyer with requisite experience; and it is further …”

“ORDERED that the parties shall appear for a preliminary approval hearing on October 7, 2010, at 12:30 p.m., at which point Plaintiffs’ compliance with the diversity requirement, as well as the other requirements listed here, will be evaluated …”

This is not the first time Judge Baer has imposed this requirement.  Depending on how Judge Baer makes his decisions in this regard, some firms may have difficulty meeting the criterion of  “diversity” along with the “requisite level of experience”.  This may cause plaintiff’s firms, especially in places like the class-action-rich Southern District of New York, to reevaluate their hiring and attorney-development policies.