Reality Check

Re-victimization of Montanans

No doubt, attorneys need to be paid for taking on these class action cases but the request is exorbitant considering the pittance the victims will get in comparison 

By Tammi Fisher

Many of us received notice in 2021 that our medical record information held by Logan Health had been breached by cyber terrorists … again. As Montanans are intensely private folks, the failure to protect our most private information from being viewed and used by criminals is infuriating. The frequency with which cyber attacks occur in all industries is astounding, with no end in sight.

Logan Health entered into a settlement agreement with attorneys that now want to represent all of us as victims of the breach, despite the fact that we weren’t involved in the settlement nor retained the attorneys. The settlement agreement can be found here.

I read the agreement and what hit me was the amount of settlement funds the attorneys believe they are entitled to for three months of work: $1.4 million. They submitted no documents or billing statements justifying their fee request. Even assuming they spent 300 hours on the case, that’s about $5,000 per hour of work they performed “on our behalf”- approximately $4500 per hour more than the highest paid Montana attorneys charge.

Class actions are cash cows for attorneys, in particular for the attorney involved in the Logan settlement – John Yanchunis. Judges across the nation have chastised Mr. Yanchunis and his firm for their greed. A Miami judge declared that Yanchunis and his firm “will not be bringing home as much bacon as it had hoped” because of its “patently unreasonable” fee request. Kukorinis v. Walmart, 2021 WL 8892812. An Oakland judge, after discovering that Mr. Yanchunis and his firm had inflated both the value of the settlement fund and their billable hours, cut the fee award by more than half. Richards v. Chimes Financial, Inc., 2021 WL 2075689. Another judge rejected Mr. Yanchunis and his firm for appointment to a New York case because his actions exemplified why “class actions have repeatedly come under criticism for being of the lawyers, by the lawyers, and for the lawyers.” In re Amla Litigation, 320 F.R.D. 120, 122 (S.D.N.Y 2017). 

No doubt, attorneys need to be paid for taking on these cases but the request is exorbitant considering the pittance the victims will get in comparison.  

The disparity between what the attorneys get and the victims will get amounts to a re-victimization of breach victims. Montanans have zero interest in being pawns in the class action racket. As my law school professor often stated, “Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered.” Read the agreement for yourself and determine if Mr. Yanchunis has adequately represented your interests. I filed an objection to the settlement agreement; we all have until Feb. 13, 2023, to file objections. You can do so here: Log In – Tafelski, et al. v. Logan Health Medical Center (loganhealthsettlement.com) or call 1-888-317-0380.

Tammi Fisher is an attorney, former mayor of Kalispell and host of the Montana Values Podcast.