Consumer Protection or Cash for Personal Injury Lawyers?

Class action abuse Courts Lawsuit Abuse

Nothing screams “lawsuit abuse” like certain lawsuits under Consumer Protection Act (CPA) laws. Upset your sports drink didn’t “give you wings?” Annoyed your “footlong” sandwich is a quarter-inch short? Think your “Greek Yogurt” should actually be cultured in the Mediterranean?

Personal injury lawyers are more than willing to file a class action lawsuit on your behalf – and any other aggrieved consumers they can represent – but mostly for the lawyer’s own gain.

Last fall, Sick of Lawsuits released a video parodying the absurdity of certain CPA lawsuits. This week, we launched our follow-up video to demonstrate just how far certain personal injury lawyers are taking CPA lawsuit abuse.

The video uses an example of a CPA class action against a sandwich shop accused of selling subs that were only 11.75 – but “misled” consumers by advertising them as “footlongs.” The company settled for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the trial lawyers walked away with 99 percent of the cash. Is there anyone – other than those who stand to profit –who would say this is why CPA laws were enacted?

Sadly, this is by no means an isolated case. Unfortunately, CPA actions represent about one third of all class actions, and a recent study found the number of these suits have doubled over an eight-year period. Of course, lawsuits to stop truly false advertising or protect consumers from being harmed or ripped off may be legitimate; however, a great deal are simply ludicrous. As proof, look at these recent lawsuits:

Personal injury lawyers file these suits under the banner of “consumer protection.” But more often the so-called “fraud” is not about hazards or blatantly false advertising, but rather very minor variations of specific rules or the twisting of language in advertising. As one victim of a CPA suit said, these cases rest on an “irrationally literal” interpretation of claims made in advertising and packaging. But personal injury lawyers take advantage of the leeway in CPA laws to file junk lawsuits to make themselves rich.

The examples showcased in these videos are clear examples that often, companies aren’t trying to fool consumers. The fraud, if any, is personal injury lawyers pretending to be fighting for consumer rights. Consumers get used, companies get sued, and personal injury lawyers reap the benefits. Don’t be a part of the problem.

If you’re approached or solicited to join a lawsuit, ask yourself: is this consumer protection or cash for personal injury lawyers?

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A project of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, Sick of Lawsuits is an online network of people who are interested in restoring integrity to our justice system by addressing issues surrounding legal reform. We encourage citizens to be empowered as legal consumers, take action against abuses, and help restore common sense and fairness to our legal system.


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