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Posts Tagged ‘class action publicity’

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?

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Here are some blog entries from the week that was that might be of interest to class action practitioners:

Class Action Decisions

The UCL Practitioner quotes a recent California Court of Appeal decision reversing a trial court’s order denying class certification on the ground that the court had not allowed pre-certification discovery of the identity of possible replacement class representatives under Pioneer Electronics v. Superior Court, 40 Cal. 4th 360 (2007) (link to opinion provided by Class Action Defense Blog):

http://www.uclpractitioner.com/2008/09/new-class-certi.html

CAFA Law Blog provides a synopsis of a Louisiana federal court decision addressing the time for removal under CAFA and the non-applicability under CAFA of the “first-served” rule, which provided that all defendants had to join in a removal petition within 30 days from the date that the first defendant was served with process:

http://www.cafalawblog.com/-case-summaries-eastern-district-of-louisiana-says-no-go-noto-refusing-to-remand-cafa-case-back-to-state-court-on-timeliness-issue.html

Class Action Defense Blog summarizes a California opinion upholding the dismissal of a claim for attorneys fees under a fee sharing agreement that was not disclosed prior to another court’s ruling on a fee award in an underlying class action settlement:

http://classactiondefense.jmbm.com/2008/09/attorney_fees_class_action_def_1.html

Delaware Corporate and Commercial Litigation Blog discusses a Delaware Chancery Court decision allowing objectors limited discovery in evaluating the fairness of a class action settlement:

http://www.delawarelitigation.com/2008/09/articles/chancery-court-updates/limited-discovery-allowed-for-objectors-to-class-action-settlement/

Class Action News

Jurist reports on a class action lawsuit filed against the NSA, President Bush, Vice President Chaney, and other government officials for actions in connection with their warrantless surveillance program to gather consumer information from telecommunications companies:

http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2008/09/class-action-lawsuit-filed-over-us.php

Tribune Company issues a press release regarding an ERISA class action filed by various reporters, editors, and other employees of the LA Times, a case covered in various blog entries last week.  (See last week’s CABWR)…

http://www.tribune.com/pressroom/releases/2008/09172008.html

… and more on the case from Southern California Public Radio:

http://www.publicradio.org/columns/kpcc/kpccnewsinbrief/2008/09/la-times-employees-file-class.html

Point of Law reports on the settlement of long-standing litigation against the New York City’s homeless programs by consolidating all pending litigation into a single class action settlement:

http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2008/09/nyc-settles-maj.php

Class Action Commentary

A Seattle Supersonics fan provides an insider’s view of a heated battle over a subpoena issued by the defendant to a founder of the fan-organized lobbying group, Save our Sonics, in a putative class action for alleged deceptive marketing practices filed on behalf of Sonics ticketholders against the ownership group that recently moved the team to Oklahoma City, from Seattle Center Arena Reboot:

http://seattlecenterarenareboot.blogspot.com/2008/09/dispatches-from-tenth-circle-sonics-fan.html

The Complex Litigator offers commentary on developments in California case law regarding the preclusive effect of a denial of class certification:

http://www.thecomplexlitigator.com/2008/09/johnson-v-gla-1.html

Spam Notes comments on a recent class action settlement involving alleged text messaging spam and addresses the issue whether text messaging spam falls within the purview of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA):

http://spamnotes.com/2008/09/23/do-text-messgaes-fall-within-the-tcpa.aspx?ref=rss

Practice Tips

Drug and Device Law Blog offers a “Multidistrict Litigation Compendium,” which includes a clarification of the distinction between the MDL process and class certification:

http://druganddevicelaw.blogspot.com/2008/09/multidistrict-litigation-compendium.html

Class Action Trends 

Mass Tort Litigation Blog offers a link to an ABA Litigation News Section Report discussing a trend in courts ordering a full evidentiary Daubert hearing to assess the admissibility of expert testimony at the class certification stage of a class action:

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/2008/09/daubert-hearing.html

The D&O Diary discusses the “dark new phase” of litigation spawned from the subprime economic crisis:

http://www.dandodiary.com/2008/09/articles/subprime-litigation/litigation-wave-inflection-point/

… and for loads of content on various other legal issues implicated by the financial crisis and proposed bailout, see http://www.theracetothebottom.org/.

Real Lawyers Have Blogs updates a previous story about a plaintiffs’ class action law firm that hired a PR firm to post a message on the social networking website Twitter seeking potential class representatives.  The update reports that the PR firm retracted the post following media and public reaction, but defended its use of Twitter to generate publicity about a potential class action as in the public interest…

http://kevin.lexblog.com/2008/09/articles/social-networking-1/pr-firm-retracts-twitter-post-looking-for-class-action-plaintiffs/

… and another brief commentary on the story from Overlawyered:

http://overlawyered.com/2008/09/using-twitter-to-scare-up-class-action-plaintiffs/

International Class Action Law

Securities Docket and Bankruptcy Information Centre discuss issues facing two British pension funds in pursuing securities class action claims against the now bankrupt Lehman Bros. investment bank:

http://www.securitiesdocket.com/2008/09/22/uk-pension-funds-in-lehman-bros-securities-class-action-weighing-options/

http://bankruptcy.org.uk/bankruptcy-news/pension-funds-review-status-of-lehman-class-action-ipecom/ (quoting article from IPE.com)

Legal Pad LA discusses a class action for life insurance benefits filed on behalf of a putative class of descendants of victims of the Armenian genocide of World War I against a foreign insurer in federal court in California:

http://www.lalegalpad.com/2008/09/descendants-of.html

ElectEcon takes issue with a Canadian usury law that formed the basis of a Ontario court’s decision holding a Canadian Satellite TV company’s late fees illegal in a class action decision impacting millions of customers: 

http://www.eclectecon.net/2008/09/consumer-protec.html

Remember the Midwest comments on an article in Australian newspaper The Age discussing a possible trend in securities class actions arising out of a company’s failure to disclose facts concerning its carbon emissions.  (for a ClassActionBlawg entry discussing the same article, click here):

http://rememberthemidwest.blogspot.com/2008/09/class-action-climate.html

Multinational Corporations links to a Business Day South Africa article reporting on developments in a case filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act against several multinational corporations for their alleged complicity in the former apartheid policy of the South African government:

http://www.multinationalcorporations.info/blog/9675/apartheid-class-action-group-in-us-court-again%C2%A0-business-day-south-africa/

Class Action Politics

Primary Monitor Blog provides a list of issues on which Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain agree, including their support of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA):

http://199.125.75.56/primaryblog/voting_records_where_mccain_obama_have_agreed

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ClassActionBlawg.com got an unsolicited but much appreciated plug from Levick Strategic Communications in its most recent High Stakes Newsletter, which discusses best practices relating to class actions.  I don’t know Richard Levick personally, but I saw him speak at the annual LSI class actions conference in Seattle a few years back and was very impressed.  If you have a high profile class action lawsuit, and you find yourself in the market for a top notch PR firm, consider Levick.

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