a new look at lawful greed

I absolutely loved this story by Doug Smith at the LA Times about class-action lawsuits and the sharks behind them. He went about it by starting with his son’s 49-cent check – yes, 49 pennies – issued to him, as a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against Bank of America, and went about answering questions like: Who are these lawyers filing these suits? Are they really trying to change society? Or are they just in it to get the multi-million cut of the usually resulting settlement? Are laws being strengthened to curb this kind of lawsuit? Is it really worth it to cash a check for 49 cents?

I did point out, in an appreciative email to the reporter (and I don’t think this would actually be the case for a 49-cent check, but still), that these checks also have taxes taken out. I remember, like two years ago, getting some official letter letting me know I was eligible to participate in some class-action lawsuit against Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (I’d worked at the Santa Monica store for about four months before getting to the News-Press). Subsequently, I got a $20 check – after taxes. I even got a W-2 for it! Nice! It was enough for about four drinks at Coffee Bean!

(hahah, more like three and a half.)