How Does Paying Some Lawyers $4 Million Help With Consumer Privacy?

from the good-work-if-you-can-get-it dept

We noted earlier in the week that the number of shareholder class-action lawsuits is falling. For average-Joe stockholders, this really means very little, as the settlements they receive from such suits are often pretty minimal. The lawyers that seek out and file these suits are the ones feeling the pinch, since they're the real beneficiaries of class-action suits. But even though shareholder suits are becoming less popular, lawyers still have plenty of other kinds of class-action suits to generate some cash. Case in point: a recent settlement (via Threat Level) of a suit against Bank of America, in which it was alleged the company made customers' personal information available to outside marketers and other third parties, in violation of its privacy policies. The effected class is pretty huge, with 35 million current and former customers available for a piece of the "$14 million settlement." Of course, that $14 million figure is pretty theoretical. It includes a $3.25 million contribution to "privacy-related programs", while people in the class are (depending on where they live and what accounts they had with the bank) eligible for a $200 discount on mortgage loan origination fees at BoA, some free checking account services, 90 days of "Identity Theft Protection Service", or a year of some other pointless credit-card "security" program. What do the lawyers get? Bank of America's agreed to pay them up to $4 million. Why don't they just cut out all the trouble, just pay the lawyers $4 million upfront, and promise they'll never do it again? Seems like that would deliver roughly the same end benefits.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    kuronoir, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 7:16pm

    lyle hutchenson needs work too

    hey, without the law talking guys this country would be... well.. would be... better off I guess, but that's not the point! Its never the point!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 12th, 2007 @ 7:22pm

    No Way!

    No Way, Carlo! I suggest they pay the lawyers up front, sure, but *they* get paid in rebates on mortgage initiation fees, coupons for free toasters if they open an account, reduced checking fees for 6 months, and the first 3 months free of a credit monitoring service (credit card required, cancel anytime after 3 free months.)

    Let's just give the 4M cash to Warren Buffet or Bill and Melinda Gates. They seem to know what to do with excess money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    boomhauer (profile), Jul 12th, 2007 @ 7:39pm


    i just had the best idea - class action suits should include a lotto to pick one or just a few members of the affected class to become the beneficiaries of the settlement! how bout that for making class action sexy again!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    The Swiss Cheese Monster, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 7:58pm

    I like dressing

    In class action lawsuits. The fabric feels so soft on my skin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 8:36pm

    Re: I like dressing

    That's sick! Yet kinda kinky, you sexy pervert you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 7:24am

    I don'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 7:24am

    I don'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 7:28am

    Re: I don't get it

    Blasted fingers...

    I was gonna say that I don't get how in a lawsuit that involves about 35 million peole said 35 million people get what amounts to a few hundred but the lawyers that only got involved when the case was about to go to court and won't think about it again (since it wasn't their info that was comprimised) walk away with a few miilion a piece.

    What has happened to this nation when lawyers are now taking the lion's share of a settlement or lawsuit winnings? I know lawyers work hard but damn...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Dylan Downhill, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    Another CLA

    Perhaps we should have a class action lawsuit against the lawyers who run these CLAs that way we could sue them, make $4 million, and give it to other more deserving lawyers. We, as members of the class, would then receive a nice commemorative ball point pen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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