Which would you rather be paid – 38 dollars or $9 million? How about getting paid $38 to help someone else make $9 million?
If you're like most people, you'd prefer the higher amount, in which case you'd probably prefer to be an attorney than a client.
A recently proposed class action settlement provides $38 to each of 344,508 allegedly aggrieved persons and $9 million in fees to the lawyers allegedly acting on their behalf.
It makes one wonder who's working for whom and what kind of justice that is.
Unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers hawking home security systems led to multidistrict litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and a proposed $28 million settlement in U.S. District Court for West Virginia's Northern District.
According to a memorandum supporting the plaintiffs' motion for approval of the class action settlement, “The proposed settlement requires Monitronics to establish a $28 million fund which will be used to pay settlement class members who have submitted claims, to pay settlement administration costs, and to pay plaintiffs' proposed service awards, attorneys' fees and litigation costs.”
The math works out to $38 per claimant and $9 million for “their” attorneys.
We can be fairly certain that those 344,508 claimants did not get unsolicited phone calls from the solicitors handling the case. That would be ironic. More likely, they saw an ad online or elsewhere notifying them that they might be eligible to participate in a proposed class action suit against Monitronics and encouraging them to contact one of the law firms involved or its contracted clearinghouse.
Which means that Monitronics might never have been subjected to a class action suit and a $28 million payout, had not the trial attorneys gone trolling.
But trolling they went, and 344,508 persons signed a form, and may get $38. In the process, they made it possible for a handful of attorneys to split $9 million.
It would have been worth more than $38 not to be involved in that process.