Washington, D.C.—In a new video released today by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Senior Attorney Melissa Holyoak explains how greedy trial attorneys are corrupting our legal system and shares how CEI is fighting to fix this problem in our landmark case before the Supreme Court.
Holyoak and CEI Director of Litigation Theodore H. Frank are petitioning the Supreme Court to correct an abusive class action settlement in Frank v. Gaos and the court will hear oral argument in the case on October 31st. Frank will make history as the first petitioner to argue pro se before the Supreme Court in the 21st century.
CEI is challenging a class action settlement that provided zero dollars to class members, more than $2 million to the lawyers, and the remaining $5 million to third-party organizations unrelated to the case. CEI is asking the court to set a standard that protects consumers from greedy attorneys who take advantage of class action settlements and direct money that belongs to class members to their favorite causes.
“This case is about attorneys selling out their clients. Plaintiffs’ attorneys negotiated a settlement that includes millions of dollars to cover their own fees and a slush fund to donate to their pet causes and even their alma maters – while leaving class members they are paid to represent with nothing,” said Holyoak. “We hope the Supreme Court will set a new standard that protects consumers who take part in class actions from being preyed upon by their own attorneys.”
HOLYOAK: You may have heard of class action lawsuits, where attorneys sue someone on behalf of a big group of people. We all believe in justice but many people aren't getting it.
While these lawsuits help some people, they’ve also become a jackpot for greedy trial attorneys who charge excessive fees and take millions of dollars for themselves… even when their clients get nothing.
And, it gets worse.
There’s also an unfair practice called “cy pres” that lawyers are now using to create a slush fund for their pet causes. They take money from settling the class action—money that should go to the class members their clients—and instead funnel it to third parties… like their alma maters… to get a building named after them? Or maybe free football tickets?
This is corruption of the legal system, plain and simple.
That’s why CEI is challenging a ridiculous class action settlement in a Supreme Court case called Frank v. Gaos. Bottom line is: the lawyers took $2 million; then they gave more than $5 million to their favorite law schools and organizations; and the class members? GOT ZILCH.
The good news is the Competitive Enterprise Institute has already returned over $200 million to class members in unfair class actions.
By going to the Supreme Court in Frank v. Gaos, CEI is fighting to fix this problem and protect consumers from greedy attorneys who rip off class members.
WATCH the video here.
ABOUT: CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF) represents class members against unfair class action procedures and settlements. Since 2009, the center has secured millions of dollars for consumers and shareholders, winning landmark precedents that safeguard consumers, investors, and the courts.
- Frank in WSJ: For Some Class-Action Lawyers, Charity Begins and Ends at Home
- Holyoak: Google Settlement: How Class Action Abuse Gives Money to Attorneys and Third Parties, Leaving Consumers with Nothing
- Read the brief and more about the case here.