Some legal cases make great movies. An underdog, or a group of underdogs, tries to right a wrong, but doesn't have the money or know-how to make the case in court. Suddenly a champion appears –- a plaintiff's attorney, let's say -– who takes the case on a contingency basis and uses his legal savvy to even the odds.
The little guy or guys win in spite of the odds, and all that's left is selling the movie rights with John Travolta or Brad Pitt playing the tough but tender-hearted lawyer.
But what happens when the underdogs are former employees of a call center?
These are the people whose unsolicited phone calls interrupt you in the middle of dinner or while you're in the shower. You pick up your phone with half-chewed food in your mouth or a dripping towel wrapped around your waist. And while you're standing there with food getting cold or the shower still running -– they mangle your surname while making a lame attempt at small talk.
"Who are you? What do you want? No, thank you. Goodbye," you inquire.
A director who could portray call center employees as sympathetic characters would have to be a master, indeed.
He would have to convince you that they're only doing their jobs (at nominal wages), reading from scripts while monitored by supervisors, and trying to make x-number of quota calls per hour.
If the director could show that the employer had shut down the business without warning and left them locked out, he just might win his audience over.
This is exactly what happened to employees of the AB&C call centers in Virginia and West Virginia. And a champion did arise to represent them –- several, in fact -– who negotiated a settlement of roughly $2,000 each for the plaintiffs.
However, four Martinsburg attorneys got to split a rich pot of $350,000 in legal fees from the settlement.
This is where the director would lose the sympathy of the movie audience as the lawyers drive away into the sunset in their luxury cars and the unemployed plaintiffs wave goodbye holding a relatively thin bag of small change.