Attorney, heal thyself!

The Madison County Record Apr. 11, 2010, 3:00pm

Psychologists call it "projecting," attributing one's own perspectives or motivations to others. The dishonest person, for instance, will accuse others of dishonesty in order to justify or facilitate that person's dishonesty.

The complaints in some class action suits often seem like a projection. In such a projection, the plaintiff alleges a deep-pocketed defendant did wrong, and then uses the judicial system to game the defendant for a payday settlement.

For a certain type of trial attorney this is merely "consciousness raising" or "grievance cultivation"-- encouraging prospective plaintiffs to project questionable attitudes onto the suit targets.

Such cynical conduct is aimed at reaping sizable fees while the clients are left with a pittance.

Presently there are several class action suits in St. Clair County alleging that various Airborne-like, cold-thwarting supplements are not effective. A case against Kmart, alleging that its "Germ Defense" has no immunity-enhancing properties, is likely to be settled soon for a mere $200,000. In the settlement Kmart will offer each claimant one or two vouchers worth $5 each toward a $20 purchase. Class counsel will receive $55,000--more than 25 percent of the total--in fees, etc.

Perhaps the settlement is not the jackpot for which Kevin Hoerner and Brian Kreisler of Belleville, Paul Weiss of Chicago, and Richard Burke of St. Louis had hoped, but it's considerably superior to $5 vouchers.

This suit and others claim the makers of Airborne generics misled the public and sold a product that failed to perform as advertised, therefore violating consumer fraud laws and unjustly enriching the perpetrators.

Is it worth asking about the makers of air-thin lawsuits? Do those individuals not mislead the public and sell a poor legal product? Can a single digit coupon possibly be what the average class member had in mind when that person's name went on the lawsuit?

Turnabout is fair play. Could a certain breed of lawyer be accused of violating consumer law and unjustly enriching themselves? Some might have deep pockets and lots of disgruntled clients who can project with the best of 'em.

More News