Hmmmm....class action lawsuit?
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Class action always sounds good unless you've been a party to one. The settlement usually makes the lawyers richer while the injured "class" shares in some sort of compensation. Sometimes it's a check for $0.25 or a discount coupon for the very product you sued over. Regardless, the individual often winds up with less than they deserve while they forfeited their right to bring any legal action themselves.
I know it's fiction, but Grisham bases his novels on reality while doing massive amounts of research to get the details as realistic as possible. His book The King of Torts
is a great story that illustrates how lawyers get dollar signs in their eyes by getting as many clients signed up for a class action as possible. When it comes time to settle, the clients normally get much less than they need/expect.
Erin Brockovich is another example. While what she and her team did was unprecedented, I don't know if it made her clients "whole." The settlement was for $333 Million. The law firm kept $133.6 Million (of which $2.5 Million went to Brockovich), leaving less than 2/3, or $199.4 Million to be divided among the more than 600 plaintiffs. That came out to less than $300K per class member, which seems like a lot until you realize many of the members were suffering, or had a high chance of suffering in the future, from cancer and other disease caused allegedly by ground water contamination. Most residents moved away from the town to avoid exposure -- another big cost for a family to take on. Even though this was a win for the class action, it was an anomaly. Most lawsuits like this take a really long time and almost never see these sizes of awards. They were just lucky a whistleblower had the documentation to prove the company was at fault.
Anyway, before anyone gets excited, do some research on recent class action lawsuits and how many are just windfalls for the law firms.