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Old     (ccryder)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-24-2009, 8:01 PM Reply   
I got a letter in the mail today about a class action lawsuit regarding a shower which was factory installed in my boat. They have warnings all about CO poisoning on the back of a boat and using a shower fits the bill of not being idiot proof for not using common sense. The class action has three options and I'm going to choose the third to opt out and not get paid if there's a settlement. It just seems that so many people take no accountability with their actions and just want to blame everyone else for lack of common sense or doing something stupid. Sorry, just felt like ranting a bit.

As a side note, I love having a shower to warm things up in the winter.
Old     (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       10-24-2009, 8:30 PM Reply   
I've never had the mud flaps to voluntarily join a class action lawsuit, although one time I was included without even knowing. A few years back I was sent a check for $400.00 or so because I worked for Red Lobster as a bartender in the late 90s, and I guess we were never given appropriate breaks or something like that company wide. I was never invited to join the lawsuit, and never even knew there was one, but I guess part of the settlement was someone had to do the research and find every employee during the alleged time period of abuse, and pay them compared to how often and long they worked during that time. I got that check years after quiting.
Old     (ccryder)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-24-2009, 8:41 PM Reply   
Your situation seems a bit different in that may have been owed money that you should have been paid. I paid extra to have an option added to my boat which also had warnings on use. I'm not going to now sue them on the fact that if you spend too much time on the platform with the engine running whether using the shower or not. The people doing the suit probably weren't even using the shower during the incident.
Old    murrayair            10-24-2009, 9:34 PM Reply   
I have a friend who got a big fat check from Red Lobster, as well.

I love the shower in my boat as well. A lot of the things people file law suits for are dumb, especially in the automotive and boating industries. I'm an honest guy, and so are most of the people I know, and could never try to profit of something like that.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       10-24-2009, 9:40 PM Reply   
Many class action law suits are powered by lawyers rather than injured parties.
Old     (fogey)      Join Date: Mar 2002       10-24-2009, 10:34 PM Reply   
I agree with your decision. I was fairly seriously injured when I was struck by a car. The lady wasn't a jerk; she just got a little careless doing a right turn on red. We've all done it; I just happened to be in the wrong crosswalk at the wrong time.

I was on active duty, and the Army paid the medical costs. There was pain, however, and I'll probably have an arthritis problem at some point. But I've often said that Americans are too litigious, looking for a quick-buck windfall. I didn't have any out-of-pocket costs, and it was time for me to make a decision about that belief. I didn't sue, and I'm glad.

Back to the incident. The lady drove me to my office. She knew the place and knew that JAGs worked there. The look on her face when I confirmed that I was an attorney was priceless.
Old     (formfunction)      Join Date: Jun 2008       10-25-2009, 7:11 AM Reply   
There is a difference between spilling you cup of coffee and a company knowingly putting lead paint on kids toys.Only a douche bag would sue somebody over carbon monoxide on a boat.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       10-25-2009, 8:44 AM Reply   
Good for you. The reduction of ridiculous lawsuits and subsequent payouts has to start somewhere and every little bit helps. Although it's just a tiny gesture, you can sleep soundly at night knowing that you're part of the solution, not part of the problem.

My daughter was about two years old at my grandma's funeral and she was playing around at the cemetery. Unfortunately, she grabbed a hold of a tombstone that wasn't properly mounted and she pulled it down on top of herself. Miraculously, only one of her legs was broken. However, the people that ran the cemetery were super nice and apologetic. They paid for all my out of pocket medical costs without giving me any problems.

Accidents happen and people need to learn to deal with it without having to run to court to get a payoff they don't deserve.
Old    killyourtv            10-25-2009, 11:47 AM Reply   
Dave i agree with you completely!! it has to start somewhere, but as (fogey) said people want a quick buck. there are some people that i know could use to read this thread! here's to hoping!
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-25-2009, 12:01 PM Reply   
Coincidentally I just got a letter from a law office about a class action lawsuit I'm eligible to join. In 1999 I bought some stock in an IPO for a Seattle company called back when everyone made money with the dot bombs. I bought in Feb at $41/share. And sold at the first chance I could, six months later for around $65..... after the stock was artificially inflated to like $400 during the first week or two of the IPO. The lawsuit is because the company executives somehow effected the stock price so it jumped way up when it was released. Their stock is like $2 now. All these years I figured I was lucky because I got out when I could & made some money as opposed to making a killing / or losing my a$$. Good to know these cutthroat lawyers are here to make me money years after I made it the first time around.... ??????
Old     (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       10-25-2009, 3:56 PM Reply   
The thing about class action lawsuits is that it's the lawyers that benefit in almost all the cases, not the people they are representing. Most of the times the cases are settled out of court with the lawyer standing to gain about 40% in fees and the plaintiffs splitting what is left between thousands of people.
Old     (fogey)      Join Date: Mar 2002       10-25-2009, 6:08 PM Reply   
"The thing about class action lawsuits is that it's the lawyers that benefit in almost all the cases, not the people they are representing."

As an attorney - for whatever that's worth - I absolutely agree. I don't think courts should be cash cows that operate primarily for the benefit of plaintiffs' attorneys.
Old     (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004 Location: Tyler       10-26-2009, 12:58 PM Reply   
good for you
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       10-27-2009, 9:21 AM Reply   
I've been asked to participate in a bunch of these and often it seemed the "payout" per person was small although the overall claim was huge. More often than not I thought the claim was BS and the attorneys would be the only persons to profit on the settlement.

So if you opt out of the class action suit do the lawyers stand to make more money?
Old     (onthewatermo)      Join Date: Jan 2008       10-27-2009, 9:53 AM Reply   
A class action is an effective and efficient way to bring one claim on behalf of numerous plaintiffs rather than filing individual suits. Let's say a cell phone company has an extra charge of $0.01 on every bill that you didn't agree to and violates some provision of law. It would not be cost effective for you or an attorney to bring the individual suit, but if there are numerous others similarly situation, it makes sense to file an action representing them all. As for attorney fees, different courts calculate them in different ways some allowing the contingency (% of recovery) fee while others use a method wherein they calculate how much time the attorney would have spent representing just one plaintiff and then multiply it by the # of plaintiffs, and still others will allow a court determined multiplier to be used on the number of hours the attorneys put into the case.
Old     (kirk)      Join Date: May 2003       10-27-2009, 12:39 PM Reply   
The whole attitude that our own stupidity is someone elses fault and they must pay is getting more prevalent. Our boats are going to be soon covered in warning labels. Boat companies are being forced to cover their butts from these types of class action lawsuits.


(Message edited by kirk on October 27, 2009)

(Message edited by kirk on October 27, 2009)
Old     (onthewatermo)      Join Date: Jan 2008       10-27-2009, 12:55 PM Reply   
and remember, lawyers don't make the laws...
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       10-27-2009, 2:23 PM Reply   
"fee while others use a method wherein they calculate how much time the attorney would have spent representing just one plaintiff and then multiply it by the # of plaintiffs"

I like this retirement plan for that extra penny charged to millions of people.
Old     (fogey)      Join Date: Mar 2002       10-28-2009, 8:26 AM Reply   
Andy, the substantial majority of Congress actually are lawyers, so lawyers do in fact make the law. And more than that, the ABA and the NTLA (or whatever they're calling themselves today) are major players in lobbying.

Your example demonstrates exactly the problem I have with modern class action practice. Suppose I've been overbilled a total of $.60 in five years, and there's a class action filed in the matter. The result is that I get a settlement in the form of a $.20 rebate on my next bill billing statement - that's 20 cents off a monthly charge of $87. The law firm (that was not injured by the billing practice) gets $Million$. And those millions come of out of the pockets of a relatively small (and innocent) group of people who happen to hold shares in the company today.

That's "justice?" Whatever happened to de minimis non curat lex? And why wouldn't it be a better approach - and a much more efficient one - to just tell me what's been going on and let me decide whether to take my business elsewhere? If you're really worried about the money the company received (perhaps due to simple error or ambiguities in the law), then maybe impose a fine as well and apply the proceeds to the national debt.

And there's a larger issue. You're well aware that the U.S. Code Annotated takes up about 30 linear feet of shelf space of laws, without even counting the additional 30? 40? 50? feet of the Code of Federal Regulations, and we still haven't gotten to the legal minutia in the Federal Register, which is published every business day. Somewhere in that morass of law is a federal mandate about some aspect of what the company can bill for, or cannot bill for, or must bill customers for. And, as you know, those laws often have ambiguities if not at least latent inconsistencies. Do we, as a society, really need this? Better yet, can we really maintain a growing standard of living for a growing population with all this government intrusion into even the smallest aspects of business - and our personal lives?

It's this minutia (and sloppy legislation) that give rise to many of the class actions that clog federal courts with matters that are trivial at the level of individual "victims." The net result is that a few lawyers get rich, and "we the people" get more and more cynical about our justice system. That's too high a price to pay.
Old     (onthewatermo)      Join Date: Jan 2008       10-28-2009, 8:58 AM Reply   
"If you're really worried about the money the company received"...I am. When big corporations rip people off thinking they can get away with it, that pisses me off and if I can do something about it, I will. Something similar to my cell phone example actually occurred when one company was charging a "US regulatory tax" which was neither a tax nor used for anything other than an excuse to add an extra charge to the phone bill. When they do that to millions of customers, who is going to stop them, be the voice of the voiceless, carry the banner on the crusade for justice...(ok, maybe I got a little carried away).
Its obvious we differ in opinion as to what is going on and how best to cure it but know that I write from the perspective of one who represents those who have been wronged. Oh, and if David had come to my office with his daughter's broken leg, I would've said, "It sounds as though the landowner is being quite reasonable in taking responsibility and care of the bills incurred for treatment to the injury caused by the dangerous don't need a lawyer so long as both parties know their rights and are agreeable with the outcome". What happens, however, when the the injured has no insurance, is suddenly off work with medical bills piling up, there is clear liability, but no accountability (cue my to be determined theme song)?
Old     (fogey)      Join Date: Mar 2002       10-28-2009, 9:23 AM Reply   
"What happens, however, when the the injured has no insurance, is suddenly off work with medical bills piling up, there is clear liability, but no accountability . . .?"

We were talking about class action lawsuits. As you've stated it, this scenario would not give rise to a class action lawsuit. It's a simple tort action, so none of my objections to class action practices applies. Clearly there are non-trivial damages, and I certainly agree that that the negligent party should be held liable to the injured party for damages as ordered by a court. By the way, I also think there is a proper place for cases involving mass tort, mass fraud, etc., where the victims have suffered non-trivial damages due to common law torts or malum in se statutory violations. I think that, as a society, we have way overdone malum prohibitum laws and rules, and it is mostly class actions on these claims that I object to.

It is just a coincidence that we have a huge body of malum prohibitum law (i.e., laws that don't address moral wrongs but merely declare morally neurtral practices to be illegal) that was written by lawyers, enacted by lawyers - and generates a lot of business for lawyers?

[Edit: last paragraph added]

(Message edited by fogey on October 28, 2009)
Old     (onthewatermo)      Join Date: Jan 2008       10-28-2009, 9:33 AM Reply   
You...are...absolutely...right. My 2nd paragraph was not relating to class actions but addressing some previous thoughts on the thread. I should've made it pop with an emoticon or a least a line break. Forgive my poor (or lack thereof) segue.
Old     (jyoungusa)      Join Date: Sep 2009       10-28-2009, 9:53 AM Reply   
And to thank someone said that Latin was a dead language!
Old     (woreout)      Join Date: Aug 2006       10-29-2009, 7:40 AM Reply   
letting your 2 year old run free in a cemetery?
Thats creepy!
Thank goodness it was only her leg and not her upper body. Those tombstones are heavy!!
Old     (kraig)      Join Date: Dec 2002       11-03-2009, 9:40 PM Reply   
I know a few people that could learn from your attitude David. Some people are just too sue happy. They think they can get a quick payoff or try to bully people around with lawsuits. You did the right thing David, we need more people in this world like you.


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