Comic retailers began receiving the Marvel settlement packages in the Brian Hibbs class action suit (see 'Brian Hibbs on Marvel Class Action Settlement') last week.  The packages detailed the provisions of the proposed settlement and the specifics as they applied to the individual retailers.  The terms were as has been previously publicized: 24% credit on late books, 17.5% credit on books with content different than what was solicited. 


Retailers now have 45 days to respond if they wish to provide documentation that the calculations in any individual case were incorrect, or to reject it.  Marvel has the right to terminate the settlement agreement if over 10% of affected retailers or retailers representing over $250,000 in proposed credits reject the settlement.


The documents also detail the legal fees, which under the proposed settlement Marvel will pay directly to the attorneys representing Hibbs and the class.  An amount of up to $375,000, plus expenses, is incorporated into the settlement.  The actual final amount will equal the attorneys' hourly rate times 1.6 or 24.2% of the value of the settlement.  The multiple of the hourly rate is given because the attorneys took the case on contingency, meaning they would have received nothing if the case was not settled or won. 


We examined the specific calculations applying to one retailer.  In his case, the gross order amount of the books Marvel delivered late totaled $8,197,59.  Those orders ranged from 200 copies of Origin #4 down to single copies of a number of books, including Marvel Knights Magazine #5.  Our sample retailer also received $31.82 worth of books that were delivered late only to some retailers.  He had previously returned $185.85 worth of late books.  Accordingly, the calculation in his case provided for credit of $1,931.17, or 24% of the net late books. 


Our sample retailer had also received $655.53 worth of books that arrived with different contents than those solicited.  He is eligible for $114.72 in credit for those books, or 17.5% of the total.   The total credit for our sample retailer will thus total $2,045.89, if he accepts the settlement and it clears the other remaining hurdles to approval by the court.


Based on the timing in the documents, it appears that retailers will have until around October 1st (depending on when each retailer received his documents) to respond.  Marvel then has 30 days to tabulate the results to make sure that the required threshold of retailers accepting the deal has been reached.  We would assume that since this represents found money for most retailers, and the percentages appear reasonable, they will accept the proposed settlement.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for November  4th.  After the hearing and (presumed) court approval of the settlement agreement, a 30-day waiting period for appeals will be observed.  After that period has elapsed, credits will be issued.  So it looks like this case could be wrapped up and credits issued before the end of the year.  This represents a period of around 2.5 years from the initial filing (see 'Retailer Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Marvel'), a fairly expeditious resolution of a class action suit.