I haven't written for a while about lawsuits, in part because our company was in the process of being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars in two cases for a) allowing a customer to get a splinter in his/her foot from walking barefoot on a wooden deck and b) allowing a guy who just had a knee operation and jumped from a height of six feet to hurt his knee. I really didn't want to throw any more fuel on the discovery fire.
Anyway, that is all behind me, and just in time to post on a funny story via Overlawyered. I have written a number of times about lawyers whose clients get coupons while they harvest millions in fees from a class action. As I wrote here:
It used to be that clients would suffer some sort of injury and seek redress in the courts. To do so, they would hire an attorney to help them. The attorney was the hired help, compensated either hourly or via a percentage of any awards.
Today, the situation is often reversed. It is the attorney who is identifying lawsuit targets for class actions and shareholder suits, and then seeking out clients who can maximize his chances of success. Clients, who typically make orders of magnitude less than the attorney in class actions (think 50-cent coupons and $8 million attorney fees) are selected because they are sympathetic, or give access to a particularly plaintiff-attractive jurisdiction, or, in cases such as ADA suits in California, because they have effectively become partners with the attorney in serial torts.
So I had to laugh when I saw this story in Overlawyered yesterday:
The client class members were to receive only gift cards, not cash, in the settlement with Windsor Fashions, a clothing retailer, so Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brett Klein thought it only fair to provide that Yorba Linda attorney Neil B. Fineman be paid his fee with "12,500 ten-dollar Windsor Fashions gift cards."