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« Symposium: "How are Blogs Affecting the Legal World" | Main | Ninth Circuit precedent for judicial reliance on legal weblogs »

Monday, July 31, 2006

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Consumer

Why should attorneys recevie cash when the person who brings the suit receives coupons? These so called class action lawsuits are nothing more than shakedowns - the attorneys should be wearing a mask and carrying guns.

Kimberly

The Abouab decision did not involve a coupon settlement. Such settlements have been approved by some courts, but the Class Action "Fairness" Act has curtailed them to some degree.

Attorneys should be paid in class action cases when their work garners a benefit for the class. That is what the private attorney general doctrine, the substantial benefit theory, the common fund theory, and the catalyst theory all recognize. However, a fees award is by no means automatic. Abouab itself is an example of a case in which the court refused to award fees because it found that none of those theories applied. The court always stands as a gatekeeper between the attorneys and their fees in class action litigation.

Keep in mind that coupon settlements are, and were, relatively uncommon. However, they got a lot of attention in the press, leading some people to believe that the majority of class action settlements involve coupons, which is not accurate. It is also important to keep in mind that attorneys in class action lawsuits do a significant amount of very hard work, and they usually advance the necessary litigation costs out of their own pockets. Such costs can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If they do not prevail in the action, they never get any of that money back. If they win, they should be paid for their work.

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