The trouble with class action lawsuits

My feeling about class action lawsuits is that most of them just generate a lot of revenue for attorneys without actually benefiting the people that make up the class.

I got a letter in the mail a few years ago concerning a class action suit settlement involving Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems which is somehow related to Cellular One. Since I am a Cellular One customer I was part of the class. The suit was over the fact that the company was rounding airtime up to the next whole minute without telling us.

The figures that follow are to the best of my recollection because I can't seem to find the letter right this minute:

The top two people in the class (the ones who actually hired the attorneys maybe?) were to receive $1000.00 each. The rest of us in the class would receive discount coupons for up to $15.00 to be redeemed on purchases at a Cellular One Store.

The attorneys for the class were to receive "reasonable fees and expenses" which amounted to a million dollars or more.

Now wait a minute. We were supposedly ripped off by this company when they rounded up our airtime charges and in order to be compensated for this we have to spend more money with them?

I wrote an objection to the proposed settlement. Notice that the company will still round up airtime charges. They'll just tell you they're doing it.

My point is, that in very many cases, class action lawsuits really do nothing for the members of the class. All they do is generate billing time and revenue for the attorneys involved (they don't make money if they have nothing to do). Not only that, but in the long run we all pay more for products and services because of the suits. The money doesn't come out of thin air.

2004 - Got another one in with my Verizon bill concerning a settlement in JACQUELINE DOTSON, et al. v. BELL ATLANTIC, and FAUSTO SCROCCO, et al. v. BELL ATLANTIC. The class action members get a few dollars if they can jump through all the hoops and also produce their past telephone bills back to God knows when. The attorneys are asking for 12.5 MILLION. Sleazebags. And if you're an attorney, don't bother crying to me about how much you spend on these cases. That's all inflated billing crap anyway.

Here's another link concerning that Verizon/Bell Atlantic case: http://www.tlpj.com/briefs/dotson__bell_04-11-03.pdf.

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Comments to: Jeff Thorssell - Remove the brackets in the email address to email: jthorsse[@]mchsi[.]com