United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
ROBERT STIRES, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff,
ECO SCIENCE SOLUTIONS, INC.; JEFFREY TAYLOR; and DON LEE TAYLOR, Defendants. DAVID PENHOLLOW, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff,
ECO SCIENCE SOLUTIONS, INC.; JEFFREY TAYLOR; and DON LEE TAYLOR, Defendants. JIAXIN LU, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff,
ECO SCIENCE SOLUTIONS, INC.; JEFFREY TAYLOR; DON LEE TAYLOR; and GANNON GIGUIERE, Defendants.
MARIE BUMB, United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court upon lead plaintiff Richard
Roschke's motion to appoint lead counsel in the
above-captioned putative class action [Dkt. No. 8]. For the
reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Roschke's
motion to approve his selection of Glancy, Prongay &
Murray LLP ("GPM") as lead counsel with Carella,
Byrne, Cecchi, Olstein, Brody & Agnello, P.C.
("Carella"), as liaison counsel for the proposed
Factual and Procedural Background
February 14, 2018, the Court consolidated the three
above-captioned class action lawsuits [Dkt. Nos. 16, 17],
brought on behalf of individuals and entities (the
"Plaintiffs") that acquired Eco Science Solutions,
Inc., ("Eco Science" or the "Company")
securities between December 2, 2016 and May 19, 2017 (the
"Class Period") against Eco Science and individual
defendants Jeffrey Taylor, Don Lee Taylor, and Gannon Giguire
(the "Individual Defendants," and collectively with
Eco Science the "Defendants").
same February 14, 2018 Order and Opinion, the Court granted
Roschke's motion to be appointed lead plaintiff, but
reserved its decision on the appointment of lead counsel for
the putative class pending additional briefing from Roschke
regarding the reasonableness of his selected counsel [Dkt.
Nos. 16, 17]. On March 2, 2018, Roschke filed supplemental
briefing addressing this issue [Dkt. No. 18].
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act ("PSLRA")
provides that "[t]he most adequate plaintiff shall,
subject to the approval of the court, select and retain
counsel to represent the class." 15 U.S.C. §
78u-4(a)(3)(B)(v). As the Court previously found that Roschke
is the most adequate plaintiff, the Court reviews his
selection of Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP as lead counsel
and Carella, Byrne, Cecchi, Olstein, Brody & Agnello,
P.C. as liaison counsel for the proposed class.
"should generally employ a deferential standard in
reviewing the lead plaintiff's choices." In re
Cendant Corp. Litig., 264 F.3d 201, 274 (3d Cir. 2001) .
Courts are not, however, a rubber-stamp for plaintiffs'
selection of counsel, and an inquiry into "whether the
lead plaintiff's selection and agreement with counsel are
reasonable on their own terms" is necessary.
Id. at 276. In making this inquiry, courts are
instructed to consider, among other things,
1) the quantum of legal experience and sophistication
possessed by the lead plaintiff; (2) the manner in which the
lead plaintiff chose what law firms to consider; (3) the
process by which the lead plaintiff selected its final
choice; (4) the qualifications and experience of counsel
selected by the lead plaintiff; and (5) the evidence that the
retainer agreement negotiated by the lead plaintiff was (or
was not) the product of serious negotiations between the lead
plaintiff and the prospective lead counsel.
Id. "[A]t bottom, the ultimate inquiry is
always whether the lead plaintiff's choices were the
result of a good faith selection and negotiation process and
were arrived at via meaningful arms-length bargaining."
case, Roschke's declaration suggests that he is a
sophisticated plaintiff who made a carefully considered and
informed decision to select lead counsel. In addition to
participating in several class action lawsuits as a class
member, Roschke had a long career with a major company, holds
three masters degrees, including two in business
administration, and has been managing his own personal
investment portfolio for approximately fifteen years. [Dkt.
No. 18-1, ¶ 2]. According to Roschke, he researched and
compared approximately 7 or 8 different plaintiffs'
securities law firms. [Id., ¶ 3]. After
identifying GPM as his preferred option, due to its
experience and success, Roschke spoke to lawyers at GPM,
reviewed the retainer letter, and decided to hire the firm.
[Id., ¶¶ 4-6].
Court has reviewed the resumes of both law firms retained by
Roschke and finds that both firms have considerable
experience and expertise in securities litigation.
Roschke's supplemental brief states that GPM retained
Carella as liaison counsel, among other reasons, for
assistance on "navigation of the New Jersey court
system, generally." [Dkt. No. 18, p. 6]. The
supplemental brief further explains that GPM will rely upon
Carella for advice on local rules within the District of New
Jersey and to file documents. [Id.]. Given the
described division of labor, the Court finds that the
anticipated relationship between lead and liaison counsel is
reviewing the supplemental briefing and Roschke's
declaration, the Court is satisfied that "lead
plaintiff's choices were the result of a good faith
selection and negotiation process and were arrived at via