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    « DLSE Busts 54 Construction Firms | Main | Court Certifies Sun Microsystems Class Action »



    I have an unrelated question about possible legislation. Have you heard whether the Legislature will be considering a fix for the Supreme Court's decision in Jones v. The Lodge at Torrey Pines? thanks

    michael walsh

    We haven't been following that issue as closely and we have nothing to report.

    Steve Kane

    This legislation reflects the mistaken belief that class actions benefit only the attorneys. A few years ago I represented a class consisting of elderly persons defrauded in an international banking scheme. The class members got about 45% of their losses back through the bankruptcy court, but we were able to recover enough from a corporate defendant to increase their recovery to 98% of what had been taken from them. One class member got a check for $186,000.00. It was more than half of her life savings. I doubt that you could convince this lady that class actions only reward the lawyers.

    A few bad apples, including some bad judges, have given class actions a bad name and corporations and insurance companies have certainly encouraged this.

    As you point out, this bill is a solution without a problem.

    Kimberly A. Kralowec

    The problem with subd. (d) is that it would have been used to withhold the class attorneys' fees until every last one of the class members has received their share of the settlement. In other words, rather than ordering that the attorneys' fees be paid simultaneously with the class members' shares (which is how it usually works in my experience), the attorneys will have to wait until all the undeliverable mail comes back, skip-traces are done, new checks sent out, etc. etc. Another problem with subd. (d) is that it assumes that plaintiffs' attorneys are going to breach their ethical duties to the class absent a financial incentive not to. I have personally worked on a case in which significant work remained to be done to make sure all of the payments were received by all the class members, and I knew I was not going to be paid another dime for all of that work beyond the lump-sum fee that had already been awarded. Yet I did this work because that's part of class counsel's responsibility, ethical and otherwise. No court order withholding part of my fees was necessary to motivate me to complete my work on the case and fulfill my obligations to the class.

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