The Irony of Torts

pounding gavelMy wife received a letter yesterday that included a settlement check in some Class Action suit. The letter included this statement: “Please safeguard this check. If this check is lost or mutilated, you must contact us in writing to obtain a replacement.” The check was for ninety-three cents!

That’s right. For egregious wrongs against some of its customers, Expedia was forced to send each of them a check for 93 cents. Now, Susie’s first thoughts were about how ridiculous it was to spend so much money mailing these 93 cent checks. My first thought was about how big the attorneys’ check was. This are the kinds of settlements that support the call for tort reform. How would you respond if an attorney came to you and said, “You’ve been wronged by this big corporation, and if you hire me I’ll get you 93 cents for your damages”? Right! but that’s what we do all the time when we get letters informing us that we “may be a part of the class” in a suit that has been filed. In reality, the lawyers are using the growing number of plaintiffs to pressure the company into some kind of settlement. The lawyers make out like bandits and then they hire a company to send out thousands of 93 cent checks.

Justice served.


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