In re: Class action craziness


We’ve started covering Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in class today which allows and regulates class action lawsuits (mass torts etc.) Anyway it reminded me that I had been a party to a class action settlement recently involving Netflix of which I was formerly a member, apparently I was entitled to under the settlement terms to a month of free membership if the settlement met court approval. Knowing that I could either opt in, opt out or do nothing (and waive a right to sue it said) I opted in, although only as I am currently not a member as the deal for current members in the settlement sounds like a scam. The settlement drew out of apparently what some believed were the false claims of ‘unlimited’ rentals or something of that nature. (The plans give you say 3 discs at time, but won’t send you more until you send them back) Basically I felt the lawsuit was pretty stupid as current members recieved as their part of the settlment an upgrade of 1 disc per month for a month (uh yeah, not much huh) Anyway, it turns out the laywers were lined up to make $2.5mil and the cost of the settlement otherwise was less than $500,000. So this defiantly smells of a bad deal as really the only folks making out of this one are the laywers, who likely searched to find this suit in the first place (not sure how it started, but after reading The King of Torts, not too trusting of these types of suits, although that is fiction)
So now to throw a wrinkle in people have begun to put up a show of resistance to the settlement, as they feel it will cost current members who will bear the cost of paying these lawyers (including a website The Netflix Settlement Sucks) the net is really allow people to mobilize and inform themselves in a really interesting way, as well as the FTC who has now filed a brief against the settlement, because in part the upgrades from Netflix require users to opt-out in order to avoid getting billed the month following the freebie. (See story here)

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