ArticlesStructured Settlements

Class Action Lawsuits

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First of all, let me say that anyone who has been in any way hurt or injured by any other party and settled through a class action lawsuit, disregard this article. I am more interested in the little frivolous lawsuits that award pitiful amounts to offended parties who most likely had no idea they were offended.

There are habitual class action participators and then there are the lucky ones who find themselves on the receiving end of a check to settle a dispute they were most likely never aware of in the first place. And the best part is the size of the checks, often in amounts less than the stamps used to mail them. Nothing like getting a check for fourteen cents in the mail says L. Matthews, whose settlement check in the landmark case against American Express Centurion Bank just arrived.

Sometimes the amount isn't the issue as much as the stipulations surrounding the acceptance of the settlement. In Los Angeles, a judge approved an agreement calling for Sony Pictures Entertainment to pay $1.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the studio of citing a fake movie critic in ads for several films, an attorney said Tuesday.

Moviegoers who saw the films "Vertical Limit," "A Knight's Tale," "The Animal," "Hollow Man" or "The Patriot" during their original theater runs must file a claim to be eligible for a $5 per ticket reimbursement, said lawyer Norman Blumenthal, who represented a group of filmgoers who sued Sony Pictures in 2001. What do they do when the 1.5 million runs out? You have to assume more than 300,000 tickets were sold between the four movies.

I have been awarded three ridiculous checks as settlement for things I wasn't truly injured by. I am proud to say those checks; totaling $7.41 were not and never will be cashed. Cashing them would be condoning the practice, where consumers get the pittance, and the attorneys pushing the cases get the nice cars. Me? I'm hoping for a direct hit by a dominoes delivery driver.

Jason Rigler
"Settlement Advocate" and consultant for Prosperity Partners Customer Service Department.

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