Not really. I just had to vent.
Try typing the phrase “class action” into a Google news search on any given day and you’ll find hundreds of catchy headlines like:
- Blue Sky Mining Company Hit with Class Action Suit Over Deplorable Work Conditions
- Dewey Cheatham & Howe Announces Major Class Action Against Quickie Mart Stores
- Class Action Could Bring the Widget Industry to its Knees
- Law Offices of Atticus Finch Files Class Action Against Radley, Inc.
- Class Action Accuses Blogger of Defamation for Complaining About Class Action Press Releases, …
… You get the idea.
To the casual observer, many of these dramatic headlines might sound like real news, rather than a plaintiffs’ firm with a good SEO consultant supplementing its latest complaint with a press release in order to drum up publicity for its filing. The truth is, any yahoo with a law license can file a “class action” complaint. But the case doesn’t become a class action until the judge certifies a class, and the mere filing of a lawsuit is a far cry from a determination that the case has any merit. Some of these complaints may actually become “major” class actions, but the fact that they seem to accompany every filing where the plaintiff seeks to represent a class makes it almost impossible to distinguish the truly meaningful cases from those that you’ll never hear about again.
I’m sure a good plaintiffs’ lawyer could come up with an eloquent explanation for why it is necessary to treat each new case as the story of the century. It could be driven by a desire for publicity, a belief in the righteousness of the cause, or even a means of defending a firm’s turf against possible rivals. Whatever the reason, to someone searching for meaningful class action news, having to sift through the countless case announcements can be more than irritating.
Maybe some day the search engines will come up with some kind of filter to separate out the press releases from real news. Then again, if it was so easy to find class action-related news, would there be any need to visit ClassActionBlawg.com?