Why You Should Opt-Out
If you have ever received a notice in the mail inviting you to join in a class action lawsuit, or received an unexpected check for some negligible amount, please read on. These lawsuits are being generated not by the public, but by the lawyers. While they claim they perform a public service by controlling corporate corruption, the regulations are designed by the bar associations specifically to cycle money into their political machine and pockets, rather than for maintaining social order. Instituting your own lawsuit would, if you prevailed, be substantially more rewarding.
Websites make class actions convenient with one-stop shopping, such as classaction.org. which has a whole cornucopia of topics you can search, to join in a lawsuit which you never would have thought of yourself. These lawsuits are so commonplace in the news, which places them in a false positive light, society assumes they have little effect on their lives. But while approximately 42% of all adults are now unemployed, this may be one of the reasons.
While they may sometimes seem like a nice little windfall, it is nothing compared to the fees generated for the attorneys. One recent class action was based on “non-emergency telephone calls from Capital One’s dialer(s) to cellular telephones through the use of an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice in an attempt to collect on a credit card debt ..” This did not sound like misconduct so egregious as to have caused much damage.
The outcome of the case is rather stunning, considering the cause of action. The final order of the lawsuit stated that 1,378,534 people were “Plaintiffs” in this class action against Capital One Bank and its vendors. Five of those people were “class representatives” that received “incentive awards.” The settlement total was a whopping $75,455,098.74. The “class representatives” each got $5000 – for a total of $25,000. The other 1,378,529 “plaintiffs” got $39.10 each, for a total payout of $53,900,679.40. But as far as individual benefits, it was lawyers who by far reaped in the rewards.
Doing More Harm Than Good
Without a doubt, the most astounding (or disturbing) part is the attorney fees in the amount of $15,668,265.00, for litigation that lasted only a few months and never went to trial. And it is a mystery of what happened to the remaining $5,861,154.30?
It is clear that justice is not the objective here, to allow such a frivolous action to cause such a huge debt; the attorneys on both sides went through the motions of advocating for clients. Damages, if there were any, are not going to the injured party, but into the pockets of racketeering “officers of the court.” These “officers” are keeping an elite group in power. It is no secret that lawyers are the largest contributors to judicial campaigns, so the judge has this on his mind when allowing a case to move forward. Whether or not it is an appointed federal judge or an elected county judge, they all are members of the inter-related national and local bar associations. These bar associations lobby heavily in congress at the state and national levels.
The settlement agreement reveals a few other questionable items. If you don’t cash the check within 180 days- where does it go? It states that it goes to a currently “unnamed nonprofit” organization. It settled with amazing speed -in about three months, considering individual pro se litigants average five years(self-represented litigant). I have seen how people are treated when money is not readily available for re-circulating to the courts and lawyers; the tactic is to drag out the litigation creating installment payments. If you refuse to pay an attorney, you will most likely receive no justice at all.
The terms of the agreement also stated that no identities may ever be revealed as to the “plaintiffs” (other than the “class representatives”). So therefore, it is not possible to determine if these people really had a claim or if they were ever mailed or received their payments. There is a clause that this class action cannot be released to the news media. It also stated that the Defendants never agreed to any wrongdoing or liability and merely agreed to the settlement under threat of being dragged through litigation and bad publicity, for years.
But who really pays in the end and is this just a backend method of funding politics? It decreases corporate ability to employ people and increases lay-offs. Since Capital One is a bank, you can be sure the costs are passed on to the consumer through increased overdraft fees, credit card interest rates and other bank fees. Actually in 2012, Capital One paid out another $210 million in settlements- with two million consumers getting about $70 each. Assuming it was again ~20% for the attorneys that’s about $40 million in legal fees. Total securities settlements last year were $1.1 billion, the largest settlement amount in 2014 was $265 million, compared with $2.5 billion in the prior year. At 20-30% fees for attorneys, do the math.
The effects are even more damaging to society from medical malpractice and product liability class actions, driving up the cost of healthcare, prescriptions and just about every commodity you can think of. Of course, you can always jump on the bandwagon, and maybe get picked as a “class representative.” A few thousands dollars may give you temporary relief for all the unemployment and inflation caused by these scams, that really only benefit the courts and lawyers. Or you can exempt yourself, so that this money does not go into the hands of political parties whose agenda you do not support. Clearly, this practice must be outlawed; there is no benefit to society whatsoever.
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