So I got this email yesterday from a law firm explaining to me my rights under a proposed Classmates.com class action lawsuit settlement. Nobody admits to anything. Everybody gets paid. It sounds like med mal extortion. For anyone that's been around for a few years, Classmates.com is that site that would bug you with emails everytime a classmate of yours sneezed. What was this lawsuit about?
2. WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ABOUT?In this Litigation, Plaintiffs assert class action claims against Classmates Online, Inc., Classmates Media Corporation, and United Online, Inc. ("Defendants"). Complaints filed in the action allege, among other things, that Defendants sent email messages to subscribers of w ww.classmates.com that were in violation of the law and engaged in conduct that had the potential to violate w ww.classmates.com users’ privacy rights. Defendants have denied and continue to deny Plaintiffs’ allegations and maintain that Defendants have not engaged in any wrongful conduct. Defendants also contend that the Litigation is not suitable for class action treatment. Defendants have nevertheless concluded that it is in their best interests that this Litigation be resolved subject to and on the terms and conditions set forth in the Settlement Agreement.This Settlement is the result of arm’s-length negotiations between Plaintiffs in the Litigation, individually and on behalf of the Settlement Class and Settlement Subclass, and Defendants. Both sides agree that, in light of the risks and expenses associated with continued litigation, this Settlement is fair and appropriate under the circumstances. Plaintiffs further believe that this Settlement is in the best interests of the Settlement Class and Settlement Subclass. Please be advised that the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington has not ruled on the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims or Defendants’ defenses and, therefore, you should not make any assumptions about the strengths or weaknesses of the claims or defenses in the Litigation.
So what am I entitled to?
4. AS A SETTLEMENT CLASS MEMBER, WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO?In addition to injunctive relief, as a Settlement Class member, if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement and if you timely submit a Valid Claim Form, you are entitled to receive a credit of $2.00 off of the purchase or renewal of a w ww.classmates.com Gold Membership. Under the Settlement Agreement, Settlement Subclass members are entitled to receive either a cash payment of $3.00 or a credit of $2.00 off of the purchase or renewal of a w ww.classmates.com Gold Membership.In addition to its cash and credit components, the Settlement also provides, on a non-opt out basis, for Defendants to provide injunctive relief to all Settlement Class and Settlement Subclass members. A description of the injunctive relief that Defendants are providing is set forth at the following website: www.cmemailsettlement.com.
It looks like I've hit the jackpot. $3. God Bless these lawyers. They worked so hard to compensate me for my troubles, all three dollars worth. That's the value of my pain and suffering. I don't know what to say. Thank you lawyers for all your hard work in protecting me, the little Classmates.com consumer from this dastardly company. How much did the lawyers take home for all their hard work protecting little Americans like me from out of control companies likes Classmates.com?
12. HOW WILL CLASS COUNSEL BE PAID?Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees and costs to be paid in conjunction with this Settlement. Defendants have agreed not to oppose Class Counsel’s request to the Court for attorneys’ fees up to $1.3 million, plus costs. Costs may include participation awards of up to $2,500 for each of the two Lead Plaintiffs. Fees and costs that are awarded by the Court will be paid by Defendants separately and will not affect your entitlement to benefits under this Settlement. You will not be obligated to pay any attorneys’ fees or costs as a Settlement Class member, nor will any award of attorneys’ fees, costs, or participation awards by the Court reduce the amount of Settlement benefit available to Settlement Class or Settlement Subclass members.
$1.3 million dollars + costs. Wow. Congratulations lawyers. I can just see them sitting around a poker table laughing about how easy American justice is. Let's see how these numbers compare to the value doctors bring to the mother and fathers of members from this law firm. Medicare pays around $90 for a highly complicated 35 minute hospital follow up visit. In order for a hospitalist to earn as much money as this law firm did taking care of the little guy, they would have to care for 14,444 Medicare patients spread out over 8,425 hours. That means they would have to take care of 20 patients a day over 12 hours a day, seven days a week for 702 days without a lunch break, potty break or sanity break.
Let's see. 1.3 million dollars to help the public get a $3 check in the mail. Or saving the lives of 14,444 Medicare patients over the span of two years. And you wonder why tort reform will never happen as long as lawyers are making laws. How odd that our government of lawyers value the lives of our elderly at a fraction of the value of their own. Perhaps it's time to implement Medicare based value pricing in the class action lawsuit market.