Lawyers have incentives to bring more lawsuits

Lawyers have incentives to bring more lawsuits

June 28, 2011
Originally published in The Washington Examiner

Re: "Trial lawyers won't give up on Wal-Mart lawsuits," June 24

Diana Furchtgott-Roth notes that lawyers typically get a percentage of a worker's winnings in discrimination lawsuits against employers. Actually, they often get more than that, since employers have to pay them.

Under a ruling in Christiansburg Garment Co. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers have to pay a worker's lawyer when a worker wins a discrimination lawsuit -- even when the worker gets little. For example, in the 1999 case Brandau v. State of Kansas, an employer had to pay $17,000 to lawyers for a woman who received only $1 in her lawsuit. Due to such generous fees, lawyers will bring a discrimination lawsuit even when it involves only an individual worker, not a class action, and the evidence is weak.