I received another one of those Class Action Lawsuit notifications. After filing a number of them, and not getting what was promised, and then noticing the trend from being promised cash awards to being promised a pen with advertising on it, or a coupon for $2 at McDonalds, my view of such lawsuits started to change.
At first, the idea seemed good. Lawyers championing the little guy, and filing suits against companies (some big, but increasingly small and unable to fight back) that no individual would ever take on in court. But as time went on, it seemed the suits that were being filed were becoming more and more trivial. And since the lawyers were taking all the booty, and not distributing it as promised, I was rapidly coming to the view that it was abuse of the legal system.
I did what you’ve probably done. I started treating the class action notices as spam, or junk mail, simply throwing them out. Of course, when you do that, you automatically become part of the class (“you need do nothing to participate”). The lawyers get the money for being parasites of the system. But what can you do?
This time I got annoyed, and took some action of my own. I encourage you to do the same when you find yourself in the same position.
The lawsuit was with a company that I’d done business with in the past, of course, but I thought it was a good business. The infraction that was alleged was that they had sent out text messages that were spam to their customers. I remembered receiving the messages and being briefly annoyed at the time. I called them and asked them to stop, and they did. On a scale of one to ten, the annoyance factor of the spam messages was a one.
It seemed clear to me that this was a case of Class Action Abuse. Here’s what I did:
- I signed the line that excluded me from the class
- I dated it
- I put it in the postage paid envelope that was included
- I put the envelope in the mail
No money for the lawyers from me. I almost felt good supporting the (otherwise decent) business that had spammed me.
Class Action Abuse lowers the quality of our lives by denigrating the legal system, which has already lost my respect due to corruption and cronyism, just for starters. It further reduces the quality of life by making the environment for private business more hostile. The role of the plaintiff lawyers is parasitic, and worse, they have manipulated the system to support their actions by default.
The next time you see Class Action Abuse in your mailbox, stamp it out by opting out of the action. All it takes is your signature in the right spot, the date, and stuffing the bad boy in its’ envelope and sending it on its’ way. By doing so, you’ll have taken a tiny step toward making our sadly broken system just a teensy bit better. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back, and give yourself a three minute break as a reward!