Franken introduces class action lawsuit bill

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/20/2012 - 10:21 pm.

    Class action lawsuits should be unconstitutional

    The purpose of tort law is to make someone whole again after they’ve been damaged and suffered a loss. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to convince the court how they’ve been harmed and how they should be compensated to be made whole.

    Even in a case where the same party caused damage to many plaintiffs, each plaintiff’s case is unique, with its own set of facts. Even if all the plaintiffs were harmed, they were all harmed differently. And the party being sued has a right to defend himself against each and every plaintiff to defend himself against the differing facts in the different cases.

    Bundling hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs’ cases into one legal action is unfair not only to the party being sued by denying him the right to face his accuser, but to each of the individual plaintiffs as well, each of whom could have been harmed more or less than other plaintiffs.

    I was a party in a class action lawsuit and although I personally lost over $100,000, after 10 years of litigation, I was awarded just $1,000. One penny on the dollar. The lawyers received $3 million, btw.

    Franken’s bill is a stupid and offensive idea that only benefits his lawyer friends who contribute generously to his party for creating laws that benefit their industry. The whole collectivist notion of class action lawsuits is the very antithesis of a constitutional republic of individuals with individual rights and would be unconstitutional in a free society.

  2. Submitted by Jim Roth on 06/21/2012 - 11:35 am.

    Class Action Lawsuits

    I’m sorry you had a bad experience with a class action lawsuit. In my experience they are frequently abused. However, you could have opted out of the class and chosen to retain your own legal counsel to pursue your claim. This is sometimes done by those who have larger claims and do not want to get included in a class settlement. You do have to pay your own attorneys’ fees if you pursue an individual case and that too is expensive.

    There is no perfect solution to this problem. Class actions do increase the likelihood that corporations will be held accountable in some fashion for wrongdoing. They virtually never result in victims being made whole for their losses.

    By the way, civil rights class actions are not the same as tort class actions. Even in tort cases, whether individual or class actions, people are seldom made “whole” in the sense you describe. The attorneys do get paid in individual tort cases, often 1/3 or more of the recovery. In class actions they can apply to the court for approval of attorneys’ fees if the case succeeds, but over the past several years it has become increasingly unlikely that they will recover anything beyond their normal hourly rates plus court costs.

    You do not describe the class action you were involved in but it sounds likely that it was based on an investment of some kind.

    Many people who are harmed cannot afford to pay attorneys who are skilled enough to prevail in these types of complex cases. There is not a simple black and white solution. I have not studied Franken’s bill but it’s not stupid and offensive to me in theory.

  3. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 06/21/2012 - 02:05 pm.

    The only individuals who can go up individually against a corporation like Walmart for discrimination–without creating a class action with others–are those who are highly paid and can afford highly-paid attorneys. All by themselves.

    Class actions are acts of solidarity, rather than “I am an island” philosophy. I’ll take that good company–including Al Franken’s–any day over suffering discrimination alone.

    Those who have experienced the kind of discrimination Franken’s legislation attempts to address just do not forget it. Or forget what it means to have co-plaintiffs, shoulder to shoulder, in a class action to fight it.

    Go, Franken!

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