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(The Newspaper)   Class action suit against illegal red light cameras ends in usual fashion: corporation is happy, lawyers are happy, victims get $6 if they fill out the paperwork correctly   (thenewspaper.com) divider line 44
    More: Obvious, red light cameras, class-action, Redflex, A/T/S, intersection  
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4514 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Jan 2013 at 10:41 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-03 09:56:40 AM
An Australia company has the right to somewhere on the order of 3/4 of Billion dollars if they pull the broken cameras off of Eastlink in Victoria. Do you think they care?  Does the local judge know what he is up against?  The owners of that company also own bits of the Chicago parking meter scam and a few toll roads.
 
2013-01-03 10:06:30 AM
Wow.

That's....not right.
 
2013-01-03 10:08:49 AM
Well, I'm glad at least that courts are ruling these things illegal. This needs to stop.
 
2013-01-03 10:12:48 AM

make me some tea: Well, I'm glad at least that courts are ruling these things illegal. This needs to stop.


I've read some of the articles on red light cameras and I have to say that it is a truly insidious relationship that private companies have with municipalities on these red light cameras. Cutting the private company in on the fine revenue is a blatant conflict of interest.

Where I live, we have red light cameras, but they are entirely owned by the local police department, there is no private firm that provides and installs the technology and gets a portion of the fine revenue. True, one could argue that the police department would do exactly the same thing to increase tickets and therefore revenue, but it doesn't appear to be happening on the same scale as some US cities.
 
2013-01-03 10:32:07 AM

Rev.K: make me some tea: Well, I'm glad at least that courts are ruling these things illegal. This needs to stop.

I've read some of the articles on red light cameras and I have to say that it is a truly insidious relationship that private companies have with municipalities on these red light cameras. Cutting the private company in on the fine revenue is a blatant conflict of interest.

Where I live, we have red light cameras, but they are entirely owned by the local police department, there is no private firm that provides and installs the technology and gets a portion of the fine revenue. True, one could argue that the police department would do exactly the same thing to increase tickets and therefore revenue, but it doesn't appear to be happening on the same scale as some US cities.


A few years ago, I got "popped" by a cam on the I-10 freeway headed toward the airport in PHX going 11mph over the speed limit in a rental car. I didn't even know about it until I got something in the mail a couple weeks later, and actually I hadn't remembered speeding, but I do get leadfooted at times so perhaps I was? Who knows. I never paid it, and I haven't heard anything since. What ticket? I only regard it as valid if an officer issues me one in person. It may end up biting me in the ass someday, but eh, I'm not planning to be in AZ too often going forward, so fark them.

Anyway, interesting discussion here:  http://www.npr.org/2012/02/22/147261655/fed-up-drivers-fight-back-aga i nst-traffic-cameras
 
2013-01-03 10:48:01 AM
RRroooooooooooxxxxaaannnnnneeeeeee.
 
2013-01-03 10:50:04 AM
Victims? You mean those killed by red light runners? I don't think they will do any paperwork.
 
2013-01-03 10:51:33 AM
Or the people could refuse to take the settlement and individually go to small claims court.
Death by a thousand cuts.
 
2013-01-03 10:53:44 AM
I don't think any corporation that has to pay $4.2 million is "happy," Subby. And the victims are getting $6 more than they would've gotten otherwise, since none of them were willing to pay lawyers $800,000 in legal fees to get a $50 ticket reimbursed.
 
2013-01-03 10:55:52 AM

traylor: Victims? You mean those killed by red light runners? I don't think they will do any paperwork.


I used to be a supporter of this technology but it turns out that it causes more damage than it prevents.  Now many cars see a clear road with a green light and they start to slow down, not continue with their journey and they block other cars behind them.  When that cluster of cars does get another green light, there is a massive spike in their risk.  This effect is compounded by every intersection and you can see from Victoria Australia's death and accident stats, these cameras do not make traffic safer.  They also compound other types of accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles.
 
2013-01-03 10:57:01 AM

Theaetetus: I don't think any corporation that has to pay $4.2 million is "happy," Subby. And the victims are getting $6 more than they would've gotten otherwise, since none of them were willing to pay lawyers $800,000 in legal fees to get a $50 ticket reimbursed.


If they got 3/4 of BILLION dollars from 8 to 10 cameras do you think they care?  They don't.
 
2013-01-03 10:58:46 AM
How much were the victims dinged per (illegal) citation? I'm guessing it's more than $6.
 
2013-01-03 10:59:31 AM

DON.MAC: Theaetetus: I don't think any corporation that has to pay $4.2 million is "happy," Subby. And the victims are getting $6 more than they would've gotten otherwise, since none of them were willing to pay lawyers $800,000 in legal fees to get a $50 ticket reimbursed.

If they got 3/4 of BILLION dollars from 8 to 10 cameras do you think they care?  They don't.


I don't think this company got 3/4 of a BILLION dollars from installing 8-10 cameras in New Jersey. Gov. Christie only pays that much for barbecue.
 
2013-01-03 11:00:13 AM

arcas: How much were the victims dinged per (illegal) citation? I'm guessing it's more than $6.


I'm betting it's way less than the $800,000 in legal fees, though, so I doubt any of them would have brought the suit individually.
 
2013-01-03 11:00:34 AM

make me some tea: A few years ago, I got "popped" by a cam on the I-10 freeway headed toward the airport in PHX going 11mph over the speed limit in a rental car. I didn't even know about it until I got something in the mail a couple weeks later, and actually I hadn't remembered speeding, but I do get leadfooted at times so perhaps I was? Who knows. I never paid it, and I haven't heard anything since. What ticket? I only regard it as valid if an officer issues me one in person. It may end up biting me in the ass someday, but eh, I'm not planning to be in AZ too often going forward, so fark them.


You'll probably be OK.  But by now there may be a bench warrant out for failure to appear, and Sheriff Joe runs a mean jail.  Drive carefully if you ever go back to Phoenix.
 
2013-01-03 11:01:08 AM

Theaetetus: DON.MAC: Theaetetus: I don't think any corporation that has to pay $4.2 million is "happy," Subby. And the victims are getting $6 more than they would've gotten otherwise, since none of them were willing to pay lawyers $800,000 in legal fees to get a $50 ticket reimbursed.

If they got 3/4 of BILLION dollars from 8 to 10 cameras do you think they care?  They don't.

I don't think this company got 3/4 of a BILLION dollars from installing 8-10 cameras in New Jersey. Gov. Christie only pays that much for barbecue.


Are you sure?  That is one contract for one site over 30 years.
 
2013-01-03 11:02:39 AM
i830.photobucket.com

Die Endlosung.
 
2013-01-03 11:04:04 AM
Instead of my normal screed about red light cameras or linking to the article that says that surveys show that many yellows in problem intersections are timed lower than state standards, I'll just say: go figure.
 
2013-01-03 11:04:41 AM

DON.MAC: Theaetetus: DON.MAC: Theaetetus: I don't think any corporation that has to pay $4.2 million is "happy," Subby. And the victims are getting $6 more than they would've gotten otherwise, since none of them were willing to pay lawyers $800,000 in legal fees to get a $50 ticket reimbursed.

If they got 3/4 of BILLION dollars from 8 to 10 cameras do you think they care?  They don't.

I don't think this company got 3/4 of a BILLION dollars from installing 8-10 cameras in New Jersey. Gov. Christie only pays that much for barbecue.

Are you sure?  That is one contract for one site over 30 years.


... In Australia, but we all know that everyone there is a criminal.
 
2013-01-03 11:08:33 AM

Carn: Instead of my normal screed about red light cameras or linking to the article that says that surveys show that many yellows in problem intersections are timed lower than state standards, I'll just say: go figure.


This.

Aren't the "timer" lights the ones shown to be most effective? The ones that count down from 10 to show how many seconds the color is going to be up?
 
2013-01-03 11:16:02 AM

machoprogrammer: Carn: Instead of my normal screed about red light cameras or linking to the article that says that surveys show that many yellows in problem intersections are timed lower than state standards, I'll just say: go figure.

This.

Aren't the "timer" lights the ones shown to be most effective? The ones that count down from 10 to show how many seconds the color is going to be up?


I don't have a link, but an anecdote. Many of the signals in downtown DC have those for pedestrians, but they work for drivers as well. It's definitely helpful if you can see that the clock is down to 3 before you get up there and you know it's going yellow so you can come to a nice calm stop instead of the panic reflex when you're a short distance from the intersection and have to make the "will it be running the red light" gut decision. So for my own benefit, I'd love to see those at all major intersections.
 
2013-01-03 11:17:07 AM
I agree with subby's unstated premise that it's better for a company to get away with ripping off a lot of people in small increments than for any lawyers to make money by doing something about it.

Oh, wait. No I don't. That's stupid.
 
2013-01-03 11:17:44 AM
If you get a ticket in the mail from one of these assholes how do you even know it's legit and not just someone with a copy of their letterhead?

I'd trust that a guy with a blue-lighted car, a gun, and a badge has the legal authority to give me a ticket, but some random envelope from a business I don't know almost automatically gets filed in the shredder.
 
2013-01-03 11:17:49 AM
And how much do the insurance companies need to give back because of raised rates?
 
2013-01-03 11:18:31 AM

Theaetetus: DON.MAC: Theaetetus: DON.MAC: Theaetetus: I don't think any corporation that has to pay $4.2 million is "happy," Subby. And the victims are getting $6 more than they would've gotten otherwise, since none of them were willing to pay lawyers $800,000 in legal fees to get a $50 ticket reimbursed.

If they got 3/4 of BILLION dollars from 8 to 10 cameras do you think they care?  They don't.

I don't think this company got 3/4 of a BILLION dollars from installing 8-10 cameras in New Jersey. Gov. Christie only pays that much for barbecue.

Are you sure?  That is one contract for one site over 30 years.

... In Australia, but we all know that everyone there is a criminal.


Who do you think was one party who signed the contract in the law suit?
 
2013-01-03 11:19:11 AM
We had a similar situation in Costa Mesa, CA. I think another judge killed it basically saying that the local gov doesn't have the money to pay The People back. So they didn't.
 
2013-01-03 11:37:31 AM
From time to time I used to get those notices about Class Action Lawsuits but after the first one I realized that if I responded, my 'settlement' would be under $10.00.

Like patent trolls, it's just another way for legal firms to make money at the expense of others.

Within the last 20 years, I've seen the flood of lawyers advertising on TV increase tremendously as they yammer about ways for you to get 'easy money' from lawsuits you might be able to participate in.

I read somewhere that Rome fell when there was something like one lawyer for every two citizens and at least in one religious text it warns you about running to lawyers for every minor problem.

Several years ago, my city spent a bundle installing traffic cameras. It wasn't until recently that I found out none are operational. They're being used as a deterrent, kind of like those fake CCTV cameras you can buy online.

Doesn't seem to be working all that well.
 
2013-01-03 11:48:45 AM
Navin?
 
2013-01-03 11:53:58 AM

Carn: machoprogrammer: Carn: Instead of my normal screed about red light cameras or linking to the article that says that surveys show that many yellows in problem intersections are timed lower than state standards, I'll just say: go figure.

This.

Aren't the "timer" lights the ones shown to be most effective? The ones that count down from 10 to show how many seconds the color is going to be up?

I don't have a link, but an anecdote. Many of the signals in downtown DC have those for pedestrians, but they work for drivers as well. It's definitely helpful if you can see that the clock is down to 3 before you get up there and you know it's going yellow so you can come to a nice calm stop instead of the panic reflex when you're a short distance from the intersection and have to make the "will it be running the red light" gut decision. So for my own benefit, I'd love to see those at all major intersections.


They're also extremely helpful in poor weather conditions. When roads are icy, yellow lights aren't always long enough to allow you to come to a full stop safely, even when driving at reasonable speeds.
 
2013-01-03 12:10:57 PM

pearls before swine: I agree with subby's unstated premise that it's better for a company to get away with ripping off a lot of people in small increments than for any lawyers to make money by doing something about it.

Oh, wait. No I don't. That's stupid.



I thought subby's unstated premise was that despite being the ones who lost their money, they didn't get much back, but everyone else got some.
 
2013-01-03 12:16:14 PM
Lawyers need boats and mansions just like the rest of us, so this is great news!
 
2013-01-03 12:43:21 PM

make me some tea: I only regard it as valid if an officer issues me one in person


Are you a Sovereign Citizen Movement sympathizer?
 
2013-01-03 12:46:13 PM
Just wait till stop sign cameras start giving out tickets for going when it was not your turn or some other nonsense.
 
2013-01-03 12:49:46 PM

Endive Wombat: make me some tea: I only regard it as valid if an officer issues me one in person

Are you a Sovereign Citizen Movement sympathizer?


No, those people are crazy. I probably do, however, align with them on this particular issue.
 
2013-01-03 12:58:43 PM

literaldeluxe: Carn: machoprogrammer: Carn: Instead of my normal screed about red light cameras or linking to the article that says that surveys show that many yellows in problem intersections are timed lower than state standards, I'll just say: go figure.

This.

Aren't the "timer" lights the ones shown to be most effective? The ones that count down from 10 to show how many seconds the color is going to be up?

I don't have a link, but an anecdote. Many of the signals in downtown DC have those for pedestrians, but they work for drivers as well. It's definitely helpful if you can see that the clock is down to 3 before you get up there and you know it's going yellow so you can come to a nice calm stop instead of the panic reflex when you're a short distance from the intersection and have to make the "will it be running the red light" gut decision. So for my own benefit, I'd love to see those at all major intersections.

They're also extremely helpful in poor weather conditions. When roads are icy, yellow lights aren't always long enough to allow you to come to a full stop safely, even when driving at reasonable speeds.


Excellent point. At least in areas that routinely have ice and snow, this would be a really good argument to justify getting them at all major intersections (DC doesn't really qualify on that count).
 
2013-01-03 02:10:58 PM

Rik01: Like patent trolls, it's just another way for legal firms to make money at the expense of others.


sigh - looks like i can drag this ol' post out of mothballs:

What in the high hells are you talking about, son?  Class actions are a specialized for of suit wherein the state has decided to allow private parties to act as bounty hunters (ok the more snazzy term is private attorneys general) so that the cost of enforcing a law is borne by those who broke it.  They are not really about compensation, they are about punishing wrongful acts.

To break this down for you:  Company C acts wrongfully, but does it in such small amounts that each consumer is only harmed to the tune of $50.  Let us assume there are 1 million such consumers, but this 1 mil is a small percentage of the total country.  In order to stop C from farking these consumers over, we have 3.5 options:

a) individual lawsuits.  This is the oldest of the options, and is what the common law would provide.  The problem here is that it is too expensive to sue over such a small individual injury.  Ignore lawyers, the filing fees for such a case are likely 5-10 times the potential recovery amount.  Thus this is not really an option to stop C's bad acts.

b) government enforcement.  This works far better than individual lawsuits because the government can aggregate all the injuries together. This is much more efficient.  However, it is likely to be expensive, and the costs of investigation and enforcement are to be borne by taxpayers.  Note how we already noted that the injured parties are a small fraction of the electorate.  Thus, under this system, to prevent wrongdoing, we need a larger governmental apparatus to investigate and pursue potential bad acts.  If the state wins, the judgment may be enough to offset these costs, but that is often not the case.

c) Class Actions.  Here we get the benefits of aggregation, but, unlike in government enforcement, the costs of investigation and suit are borne by the liable party.  See, if the lawyers investigate and realize there is nothing to pursue, they have to eat that cost.  Furthermore, if they sue and win, because the liable party pay's their fees, its as if that liable party is paying for its own punishment.  It is a cheap and easy way to defer the general costs of certain enforcement actions by basically privatizing them.

(the .5 would be small claims court - which can be a solid viable answer if you feel like burning a bunch of time.  Alas, once again if your time is worth more than the injury - it is just a) all over again)

Thus, regarding the constant and consistent biatchery in these threads over the small recovery by regular folks: 1) it was never about making them whole anyway and 2) its basically free money.  I have however learned not to be surprised by homo sapiens and their ability to get mad about getting something for free merely because someone else got more (which is especially egregious here as the attorney's fees that underlie such grousing is for the actual work the lawyers did -  its not free money at all!)
 
2013-01-03 02:27:02 PM

literaldeluxe: Carn: machoprogrammer: Carn: Instead of my normal screed about red light cameras or linking to the article that says that surveys show that many yellows in problem intersections are timed lower than state standards, I'll just say: go figure.

This.

Aren't the "timer" lights the ones shown to be most effective? The ones that count down from 10 to show how many seconds the color is going to be up?

I don't have a link, but an anecdote. Many of the signals in downtown DC have those for pedestrians, but they work for drivers as well. It's definitely helpful if you can see that the clock is down to 3 before you get up there and you know it's going yellow so you can come to a nice calm stop instead of the panic reflex when you're a short distance from the intersection and have to make the "will it be running the red light" gut decision. So for my own benefit, I'd love to see those at all major intersections.

They're also extremely helpful in poor weather conditions. When roads are icy, yellow lights aren't always long enough to allow you to come to a full stop safely, even when driving at reasonable speeds.


If you are driving at a speed that is safe for the weather you should be able to stop safely
 
2013-01-03 03:11:31 PM

chitownmike: literaldeluxe: Carn: machoprogrammer: Carn: Instead of my normal screed about red light cameras or linking to the article that says that surveys show that many yellows in problem intersections are timed lower than state standards, I'll just say: go figure.

This.

Aren't the "timer" lights the ones shown to be most effective? The ones that count down from 10 to show how many seconds the color is going to be up?

I don't have a link, but an anecdote. Many of the signals in downtown DC have those for pedestrians, but they work for drivers as well. It's definitely helpful if you can see that the clock is down to 3 before you get up there and you know it's going yellow so you can come to a nice calm stop instead of the panic reflex when you're a short distance from the intersection and have to make the "will it be running the red light" gut decision. So for my own benefit, I'd love to see those at all major intersections.

They're also extremely helpful in poor weather conditions. When roads are icy, yellow lights aren't always long enough to allow you to come to a full stop safely, even when driving at reasonable speeds.

If you are driving at a speed that is safe for the weather you should be able to stop safely


When traffic is heavy and moving at 30mph on a busy road with a 45mph speed limit under slippery conditions, you can't drive 10mph without causing accidents.Even if you can drive relatively safely at 20-25 by leaving sufficient distance between you and the next car, short yellow lights remain a major hazard. You can't stop in time, and if you could (by driving even slower), the person behind you is still going too fast to stop, so you get rear-ended.
 
2013-01-03 03:53:47 PM

Teiritzamna: Rik01: Like patent trolls, it's just another way for legal firms to make money at the expense of others.

sigh - looks like i can drag this ol' post out of mothballs:

What in the high hells are you talking about, son?  Class actions are a specialized for of suit wherein the state has decided to allow private parties to act as bounty hunters (ok the more snazzy term is private attorneys general) so that the cost of enforcing a law is borne by those who broke it.  They are not really about compensation, they are about punishing wrongful acts.

To break this down for you:  Company C acts wrongfully, but does it in such small amounts that each consumer is only harmed to the tune of $50.  Let us assume there are 1 million such consumers, but this 1 mil is a small percentage of the total country.  In order to stop C from farking these consumers over, we have 3.5 options:

a) individual lawsuits.  This is the oldest of the options, and is what the common law would provide.  The problem here is that it is too expensive to sue over such a small individual injury.  Ignore lawyers, the filing fees for such a case are likely 5-10 times the potential recovery amount.  Thus this is not really an option to stop C's bad acts.

b) government enforcement.  This works far better than individual lawsuits because the government can aggregate all the injuries together. This is much more efficient.  However, it is likely to be expensive, and the costs of investigation and enforcement are to be borne by taxpayers.  Note how we already noted that the injured parties are a small fraction of the electorate.  Thus, under this system, to prevent wrongdoing, we need a larger governmental apparatus to investigate and pursue potential bad acts.  If the state wins, the judgment may be enough to offset these costs, but that is often not the case.

c) Class Actions.  Here we get the benefits of aggregation, but, unlike in government enforcement, the costs of investigation and suit are borne by the l ...


Except it's not free money.

If I buy a lawnmower for 500 dollars, the lawnmower fails, and I get settlement for 20 bucks, I'm STILL sitting on -480 dollars. And if someone else has made money when I'm still sitting on the far end of shiat, damn straight I'd be pissed. The consumers take the risk when they buy the product, and if the company pays out less than they made, they -will- be happy. The lawyers will be happy. And the consumers just got spitroasted. That's why Class actions that don't even attempt at making whole suck, as far as making the system work.
 
2013-01-03 06:49:07 PM
Remember the Bar Association is one of the most powerful unions in the world along with the AMA.
 
2013-01-03 09:32:59 PM

Kinek: Teiritzamna: Rik01: Like patent trolls, it's just another way for legal firms to make money at the expense of others.

sigh - looks like i can drag this ol' post out of mothballs:

What in the high hells are you talking about, son?  Class actions are a specialized for of suit wherein the state has decided to allow private parties to act as bounty hunters (ok the more snazzy term is private attorneys general) so that the cost of enforcing a law is borne by those who broke it.  They are not really about compensation, they are about punishing wrongful acts.

To break this down for you:  Company C acts wrongfully, but does it in such small amounts that each consumer is only harmed to the tune of $50.  Let us assume there are 1 million such consumers, but this 1 mil is a small percentage of the total country.  In order to stop C from farking these consumers over, we have 3.5 options:

a) individual lawsuits.  This is the oldest of the options, and is what the common law would provide.  The problem here is that it is too expensive to sue over such a small individual injury.  Ignore lawyers, the filing fees for such a case are likely 5-10 times the potential recovery amount.  Thus this is not really an option to stop C's bad acts.

b) government enforcement.  This works far better than individual lawsuits because the government can aggregate all the injuries together. This is much more efficient.  However, it is likely to be expensive, and the costs of investigation and enforcement are to be borne by taxpayers.  Note how we already noted that the injured parties are a small fraction of the electorate.  Thus, under this system, to prevent wrongdoing, we need a larger governmental apparatus to investigate and pursue potential bad acts.  If the state wins, the judgment may be enough to offset these costs, but that is often not the case.

c) Class Actions.  Here we get the benefits of aggregation, but, unlike in government enforcement, the costs of investigation and suit are borne by the l ...

Except it's not free money.

If I buy a lawnmower for 500 dollars, the lawnmower fails, and I get settlement for 20 bucks, I'm STILL sitting on -480 dollars. And if someone else has made money when I'm still sitting on the far end of shiat, damn straight I'd be pissed. The consumers take the risk when they buy the product, and if the company pays out less than they made, they -will- be happy. The lawyers will be happy. And the consumers just got spitroasted. That's why Class actions that don't even attempt at making whole suck, as far as making the system work.


Well you options are:

1) do nothing and be at -500
2) actually do something and sue, wich will likely leave you at -500 + lots
3) do nothing and be at say -450.

This is why I called it free money. Because the people complaining did nothing but are better off (-450 minus -500 = 50 you wouldn't have had anyway). And more importantly, as discussed this isn't about recommpence, it's about preventing future wrongdoing
 
2013-01-04 10:05:53 AM

Teiritzamna: Kinek: Teiritzamna: Rik01: Like patent trolls, it's just another way for legal firms to make money at the expense of others.

sigh - looks like i can drag this ol' post out of mothballs:

What in the high hells are you talking about, son?  Class actions are a specialized for of suit wherein the state has decided to allow private parties to act as bounty hunters (ok the more snazzy term is private attorneys general) so that the cost of enforcing a law is borne by those who broke it.  They are not really about compensation, they are about punishing wrongful acts.

To break this down for you:  Company C acts wrongfully, but does it in such small amounts that each consumer is only harmed to the tune of $50.  Let us assume there are 1 million such consumers, but this 1 mil is a small percentage of the total country.  In order to stop C from farking these consumers over, we have 3.5 options:

a) individual lawsuits.  This is the oldest of the options, and is what the common law would provide.  The problem here is that it is too expensive to sue over such a small individual injury.  Ignore lawyers, the filing fees for such a case are likely 5-10 times the potential recovery amount.  Thus this is not really an option to stop C's bad acts.

b) government enforcement.  This works far better than individual lawsuits because the government can aggregate all the injuries together. This is much more efficient.  However, it is likely to be expensive, and the costs of investigation and enforcement are to be borne by taxpayers.  Note how we already noted that the injured parties are a small fraction of the electorate.  Thus, under this system, to prevent wrongdoing, we need a larger governmental apparatus to investigate and pursue potential bad acts.  If the state wins, the judgment may be enough to offset these costs, but that is often not the case.

c) Class Actions.  Here we get the benefits of aggregation, but, unlike in government enforcement, the costs of investigation and sui ...


Your solution is to shut up because at least the company spit on the hole before they farked someone?

Here's the problem with the situation as it stands. Numbers totally made up.

Beginning totals (Aggregate, Consumer value set to 0 aside from Asset Being purchased):

Consumers: 10 Million
Company: 0
Lawyers: 0

After Sale of faulty product, or after defective service.

Consumers: 0
Company: 10 million
Lawyers: 0

After Class Action:

Consumers .5 Million
Company: 5.5 million
Lawyers: 4 Million.

I understand that in law school they don't even pretend to the purpose anymore. Class actions ARE not preventative. What incentive do lawyers have to prevent? They are in it to make money. Which is understandable. But as long as they get their share of profits, they couldn't give two farks whether the company does it again. And if companies start building it into their model that they will get sued, then you get a near conspiracy and systematic collusion between companies and Lawyers to defraud consumers. It's not a conscious thing. It's how the system throws people together.
 
2013-01-04 12:29:30 PM
Recently, My Mom, who is now deceased. Was involved in a class-action lawsuit against the Government for something or another. The short story, they plaintiffs, of which my Mom was one of them, won their case. What did she get ? A check for $ 1.17 , I kid you not.

So I can see how this could and will happen again. Usually, the only winners in a lawsuit, are the lawyers, not those directly involved in the case.
 
2013-01-04 07:04:10 PM

Kinek: After Class Action:

Consumers .5 Million
Company: 5.5 million
Lawyers: 4 Million.

I understand that in law school they don't even pretend to the purpose anymore. Class actions ARE not preventative. What incentive do lawyers have to prevent? They are in it to make money. Which is understandable. But as long as they get their share of profits, they couldn't give two farks whether the company does it again. And if companies start building it into their model that they will get sued, then you get a near conspiracy and systematic collusion between companies and Lawyers to defraud consumers. It's not a conscious thing. It's how the system throws people together.


A couple points

1) using your made up numbers, a recovery that small for the class would likely never pass judicial muster - as all class action settlements must be reviewed by a court specifically to prevent such an occurence.  Usually class action firms are being paid on contingency, which tends to be capped at around 30%.

2) But let's look at your sums, but instead of comparing them to a vacuum let us look at the other options:

a) do nothing

Consumers: 0
Company: 10 million
Plaintiff's Lawyers: 0

Consumer benefit = 0

b) Government enforcement through fines/civil action.  Note that in these scenarios, the gov tends to settle just like private plaintiffs do, and unlike in private class action none of that money actually goes back to the consumers.

Consumers: -3-5 million (in taxes covering the costs of suit and enforcement)
Company: 5.5 million - 3-5 million in legal fees to defend/settle
Plaintiff's Lawyers: 0

Consumer benefit: a loss of approximately 3-5 mill in taxes

c) Private enforcement.  Let us assume egregious defendants who will likely lose (like lead paint manufacturers in the 80s) so we can assume that if you bring suit, you will get some sort of recovery.  However, you have to personally pony up the expenses yourself.  As class actions usually only happen when the damages per plaintiff are rather low, let us assume a high damage amount of say $500 per consumer.  The filing/court fees alone would dwarf the potential recovery, notwithstanding the cost of each consumer hiring counsel.  Thus we have the following:

Consumers: 10 million recovery - ~20 million (litigation costs cumulative accross all consumers) 
Company: -20-30 million in legal fees to defend against hundreds of individual suits
Plaintiffs Lawyers: a large percentage of the 20+ million  paid by consumers for each individual suit.

Consumer benefit: a loss of approximately 10 million overall

in only one scenario do consumers end up with a positive figure at the end of things, while at the same time do company's have an incentive to not screw people over (note that in your math you forgot to add in the costs of legal fees to the company - in reality they probably lost money on the whole affair.  Perhaps not that much money, but enough to suggest that doing this again (or at least getting caught) is not in their self interest).

Not to say there couldn't be another way to go, but i haven't ever heard one suggested.

Kinek: I understand that in law school they don't even pretend to the purpose anymore. Class actions ARE not preventative


Look at any legal textbook on civil procedure, remedies, corporations, etc.  They all pretty much follow the law and economics position that class actions are bounties authorized by the government to incentivize attorneys to seek recovery from actors who would otherwise know that the economics of scale would preclude anyone coming after them for their wrong doing.
 
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