Let's Sue Some Big Corporation: How Class Action Lawsuits Work (in my head)
Ted Big Hat
Let's Sue and Get Rich!
Every year, every person on the planet receives 32,000 postcards telling them that they may be part of a class action lawsuit. Unless you opt out, you're in.
Now at first glance, you look and say, "JACKPOT." It sounds like you won the lottery. What you won is nothing.
Here's how it works: Big Hat, Friendly Grin, and Sue (a law firm who advertises on cable TV) run a series of ads. They funnel the cases to a Crypt-Keeper. The Crypt-Keeper sues. You get paid. But wait, there's more!
Watch TV, Win Big!
Hi, I'm Ted Big Hat. Have you ever caught a cold after breathing AIR? Hell, yeah, you have. It's not fair that AIR gets to blow around causing colds. Or even making you cold. If you've ever been hurt, injured, or in any way psychologically or physically impacted by the presense of AIR, give Big Hat, Friendly Grin, and Sue a call today. The number's right there on the screen, partner.
(Disclaimer: The firm of Big Hat, Friendly Grin, and Sue are licensed to practice Animal Law in Micronesia. If you aren't in Micronesia, your case may be referred to one of our partners)
What Seems to Happen
Whether or not you're interested in the lawsuit, you toss the postcard and forget about it. If the notification came via email, it probably ended up in your spam folder with other non-spam, such as offers from African Princes that will make you wealthy. Why do African Princesses never make these offers? Presumably European and Asiatic Royalty should also be sending these offers, but all I see is stuff from one Prince of Nigeria. And he seems to be getting desperate.
About a year later, you receive 3 coupons good for, "One breath of air."
Where did all the money go?
Obviously AIR has money. It's everywhere. AIR gets around. AIR knows where the bodies are buried, which closets the skeletons are in, and which X marks the spot. AIR is loaded.
So, how come after a year (or sixty) of litigation, did you get a coupon for three extra breaths of AIR? You were expecting more, like a pot of lemmings, a jar of Weebles (they wobble, but they don't fall down), or some cold, folding cash. Maybe a bar of gold briefly flitted across your horizon. That's not what you got, though.
Who got the money? Well, Big Hat, Friendly Grin, and Sue were a front. They got a little cut (little being several million dollars) for compiling the initial members to start the suit. Not every fishing expedition pays off and it takes big bucks to advertise at 3 AM on the Nose Hair Network. They've got to pay their expenses.
The initial class members probably got more than you. They probably got a Bag Of Wind. They're now really popular at kite flying parties, but they didn't get much. Who got the big money? The behind-the-TV lawyer that actually sued AIR.
Pennies add up
Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have a penny. Find several million people that have partaken of AIR. Get enough of them to sign a complaint about AIR that they become a class. Get enough of them to assign you 40% of "free money you don't have to work for," and it begins to add up. While the individual settlements will be low, $1 or $2 on the low-end lawsuits, enough of these add up to big money.
And that's how you get rich. Become a lawyer who has cases funneled to them.
Oh wait, but you got three extra breaths of AIR. Or a coupon for 1 free breath with one regularly priced breath. You don't get rich, sorry.