Class action lawsuits can remedy wrongs. However, the suggestion that private lawyers are the best or only parties able to represent consumers in such suits is ridiculous.
The Texas attorney general's office has a Consumer Protection Division, staffed by hundreds of lawyers paid by our tax dollars. Any of these lawyers can investigate a claim, bring a legal action, levy a fine or launch a full-blown class action, if the circumstances warrant.
Fees generated by an internal class action could produce a profit for the state which could be used for schools, police or highway construction.
However, many of the class action suits we read about never reach the complaint state with the attorney general's office. Instead, overzealous, money hungry trial lawyers apparently create these suits with the goal of enriching themselves.
The motivation for these class actions is simple: a large enough group of plaintiff's will force a business to settle a claim, and a large enough group of plaintiff's will create a large enough settlement to be worth millions of dollars in attorneys' fees.
If the true goal is to remedy a wrong, then consumers should first take their complaint to the offending party. If that doesn't produce a just result then the complaint should be lodged with the Better Business Bureau or the attorney general's office.
If we were to follow this prudent course, then class actions would regain their stature as the righteous fist of society rather than a get-rich-quick scheme for greedy lawyers.
Woody Lesiker, Houston