Thursday, May 16, 2013

...and in other news

Coupons are not always valuableNormally, I publish about once a week because my posts about legal research are pretty potent stuff.  Today, however, I saw an article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal that talked about Ciolino v. Hewlett-Packard Co, 2013 DJDAR 6149, which was a case just handed down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  In Ciolino, the court stated that when a settlement in class action cases provided for coupon relief (meaning, instead of collecting cash, the prevailing party is giving coupons redeemable for goods/services), attorneys must base their fees upon the number of coupons actually redeemed.  Wait, what?!? 

See, in the past, lawyers who won a class action case where the prevailing party is given coupons to use to buy goods/services with the offending defendant, attorneys could collect huge amounts of cash for their fees and costs of suit whether or not anyone actually used the coupons. The problem is/was - why in blazes would anyone want to use a coupon for stuff at a company they just sued? 

Attorneys are going to have to rethink filing that lawsuitApparently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals thought that was crazy, too, stating to the attorneys, if you win a class action suit where the settlement provides for coupon relief, you (the attorneys) can't collect your fees up front but must wait and base your fees on how many coupons are actually used.  What this means is that if no one uses their coupons, the representing attorneys don't get paid!

Ohhhh, that's gotta hurt but with a ruling like that I'm thinking attorneys will be re-thinking filing their next class action suit because we the people are sick of having to use those stupid coupons.  Interested in filing a class action or what a class action lawsuit is?  Take a gander at Newberg on Class Actions (West) or Survey of State Class Action Law (West) and with that, I'm out!