Posts Tagged ‘class actions’

Latest issue of Class Action Watch

The latest issue of the Federalist Society’s Class Action Watch has many articles of interest to Overlawyered readers:

  • William E. Thomson & Kahn A. Scolnick on the Exxon Shipping case;
  • Jimmy Cline on Arkansas’s disregard for class action certification standards;
  • Jim Copland on the “Colossus” class action;
  • Laurel Harbour on the New Jersey Supreme Court decision on medical monitoring class actions;
  • Lyle Roberts on lead-counsel selection in securities class actions;
  • Mark A. Behrens & Frank Cruz-Alvarez on the lead paint public nuisance decision by the Rhode Island Supreme Court; and
  • Andrew Grossman, extensively citing to Overlawyered and my brief in discussing the Grand Theft Auto class action settlement rejection.

New at Point of Law

If you’re not visiting my other site — or subscribing to it in your RSS reader, or following its Twitter feed — here’s some of what you may have missed lately:

Bogus Olympic ticket scam

The (genuine) International Olympic Committee and other defendants should be made to pay, according to Texas-based class-action lawyer, Jim Moriarty, who wants “millions of dollars” for 400 victims worldwide. “The lawyer alleges the IOC was aware was operating with trademarked Olympic symbols emblazoned on the site,” but failed to act speedily enough or effectively in getting the impostor site shut down. (“Olympic ticket scam: class action”, Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 23).

Plaintiffs scrambling to sue egg producers over alleged price fixing

Two separate lawsuits were filed in federal courts in Minneapolis and Pennsylvania in recent days against egg producers. The Pennsylvania suit, a class action, and the Minneapolis suit, which the plaintiffs are seeking to certify as a class action, both allege various egg makers have engaged in price fixing.

But with the price of chicken feed skyrocketing due to the cost of fuel and the diversion of corn from feed to ethanol, and previous lawsuits by animal rights groups resulting in fewer laying hens occupying more space per hen, it’s no surprise that a carton of eggs–like nearly every other food–costs consumers more money these days.

“The Inverted Federalism of Grider v. Compaq”

As good an argument for the Class Action Fairness Act as any: Trial lawyers sued Compaq in Texas over an allegedly defective disk controller, though none of the plaintiffs had ever suffered a malfunction or a loss of data, alleging a violation of Texas consumer fraud law on behalf of a nationwide class.  No dice: the Texas Supreme Court threw out the case, noting that Texas law did not permit the sort of nationwide class action contemplated by the plaintiffs.  End of story?  Nope: the same trial lawyers filed the same complaint again, this time in Oklahoma state court, and asked the Oklahoma state court to apply Texas law to a nationwide class.  “Sure thing!” the court rubber-stamped–applying an ersatz version of Texas law rejected by Texas courts.  The forum-shopping was able to extract $40 million in attorneys’ fees from a questionable coupon settlement, as an Overlawyered post noted August 6.  The Summer 2008 issue of State Court Docket Watch includes my essay discussing why this is a constitutionally problematic set of decisions by Oklahoma courts–written before, though published after, the Anthony Caso analysis for WLF.

August 22 roundup

  • “Law school is not such a leap” for licensed Nevada prostitute’s next career move — hey, we didn’t say that, Robert Ambrogi at did [Legal Blog Watch, Bitter Lawyer]
  • Today’s representative class-action plaintiff: “For five years, her diet consisted almost exclusively of Chicken-of-the-Sea tuna…” [PoL]
  • Prolific California disabled-access filer Jarek Molski ordered to pay fees for “scorched-earth” tactics in one case, but wins a second [Metropolitan News-Enterprise via Bashman]
  • Another sperm donor surprised by legal obligation to pay child support [Santa Fe, N.M. Reporter; earlier]
  • “Lawyer Fees Jumped 50% After Bankruptcy Law Change” [ABA Journal]
  • “Whatever it takes to win a case”, and checking out jurors’ Facebook profiles is the least of it [NLJ]
  • High-profile U.K. attorney Nick Freeman registers his nickname “Mr. Loophole” [Times Online a while back]
  • When can a plaintiff claiming sexual assault sue anonymously? Courts will apply mushy balancing test [NYLJ]
  • Hold on to your hats, looks like Geoffrey Fieger is online [Fieger Time]

“Cy pres awards under scrutiny”

I’m quoted at length in a National Law Journal story about criticisms of cy pres awards, the ostensibly charitable contributions demanded in class-action settlements that actually serve to inflate attorneys’ fee awards without requiring actual payments to actual class members. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are using the device to try to get around the requirements of the Class Action Fairness Act, which made it more difficult for attorneys to inflate the nominal value of settlements through coupons, the pre-CAFA means by which plaintiffs’ attorneys inflated settlements. (I’m actually misquoted in one sentence: I said “putative class” to the reporter, and it was written in the article as “punitive class.”  Update: corrected in on-line edition.) (Amanda Bronstad, National Law Journal/, Aug. 11).

Yes, I’m being facetious

Where’s the trial lawyer bringing a class action on behalf of all of the people who were defrauded when they gave money to John Edwards’s presidential campaign?  It’s certainly a much more plausible claim of causation, reliance, and financial injury than the typical class action.

More seriously, I hope someone somewhere is investigating whether Fred Baron violated federal campaign finance law when he set aside tens of thousands of dollars to pay Rielle Hunter hush money without disclosing the payments on behalf of Edwards.  Edwards said he was in the Beverly Hilton to help keep the story from becoming public, which makes it seem unlikely he’s telling the truth when he said that he had no knowledge that Baron moved Hunter to California.  Alas, ABC didn’t ask the right follow-up questions, such as how Edwards thought meeting Hunter in a hotel room would help keep the story quiet.  And “Fred Baron” appears nowhere in the New York Times story, even as he is a major fund-raiser for Barack Obama today.  Obama is still running for president, right?