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Me jump in Charlie Joseph CharlieJ cajoseph@us.hsanet.net Far be it from me to jump on the lawyer bashing bandwagon, especially since I count our redoubtable rs on the friend side of my ledger. (Poor guy must feel abused by now).
We all see the TV shows, (and of course we have rs as our shining example) so we know they're all really good guys.
But I do have a pet peeve: Class action suits. Notwithstanding Erin Brachovitch (sic?), surely many of these are nothing but scams.
I have been a beneficiary of two in the past year or so, without even asking.
Example 1. Someone decided one of the famous magazine sellers had done some dastardly act. I can't remember exactly, but it was something like this. A certain magazine had gone out of business and the magazine clearing house switched you to another to fulfill the subscription. Of course you had the option to decline and get a refund, but that was post fact. Well that pissed somebody off, so they instituted a class action suit.
Final judgement: Now I can submit for a refund (if I didn't already). The only kicker is that if the aggregate refunds exceed a certain amount, then my refund is pro-rated. But lucky me, I get to keep any issues of the substitute magazine. Lawyers fee: If memory serves me right, $4 million plus expenses.

Example 2. More recent. An insurance company was sued in a class action because they failed to properly invest the assets gained from a certain type of insurance and didn't explain the policy clearly (who reads fine print anyway - that's what we have lawyers for). Here's what I got. $1200 added to my policy value. Of course, I don't get that. I have to kick the bucket so my wife can get it. I also have the 'opportunity' to purchase additional insurance at a 'reduced' rate. (i.e. the company gets to make another sale for just a little less income - of course that's a direct sale - no agent involved so they're getting about the same as always).
Lawyers fees: $1.4 million plus $80,000 expenses. The original plaintiff gets $5,000. Even his award is peanuts compared to the lawyers windfall, although I can't escape the feeling he's probably a brother-in-law or something.

I'm sure some class action suits do some good. They keep the big guys from doing dastardly things to us little guys. But, as John Stassel of ABC says - Gimme a break! Do you honestly believe those lawyers deserve that kind of windfall while the 'beneficiary' gets virtually nothing. Is there a necessity for those kinds of cases in my examples? Especially example 1.

Now having said that, I again insist on pointing out that I believe rs and guys like him are the epitome of what a lawyer should be! rs is a credit to the island of his origin!

Charliej



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