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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The first thing we do

Is shoot all the lawyers. Glenn Reynolds draws our attention to an absurd parody of justice and recompense:
In 2013, Yahoo announced that it would begin scanning its users’ e-mail for targeted advertising purposes—just as Google does. As is par for the course, class-action lawsuits were filed. The Silicon Valley media giant, according to one of the lawsuits, was violating the “personal liberties” of non-Yahoo Mail users. That’s because non-Yahoo Mail users, who have sent mail to Yahoo mail users, were having their e-mail scanned without their permission.

The suit, which was one of six that were co-mingled as a single class action, demanded that a judge halt the scanning and award each victim “$5,000 or three times actual damages” in addition to “reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”

Fast forward three years. The case is now closed. Days ago, a Silicon Valley federal judge signed off (PDF) on a settlement (PDF). The lawyers won, they were awarded $4 million (£3 million), and the public got nothing. What’s more, the settlement allows Yahoo to continue to scan e-mails without non-Yahoo users’ consent.

It’s almost as though class-action suits have become nothing more than shakedown operations for lawyers.
We will, of course, spare Dr. Reynolds as the proverbial exception to the rule and award him his pick of his former colleague's estates.

It would be in the definite interest of the American people to pass a law that forbids lawyers to collect more than 10 percent of any settlement or court-dictated award. Unfortunately, the lawyers in Congress are very unlikely to ever permit the passage of anything that would restrain the rapacious predation of their colleagues.

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89 Comments:

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) August 31, 2016 1:18 PM  

Vox, have you read the buzzfeed ISDS investigation?

Blogger VD August 31, 2016 1:18 PM  

No, I don't think so.

Anonymous BGKB August 31, 2016 1:26 PM  

Lawfare is how the left won most of its victories. (((Cucks))) at the EPA actually meet with lawyers to arrange for them to sue the EPA who would roll over to get restrictions passed including those beyond current TECH. You can't expect Whitey to improve beyond current tech while having affirmative action workers to slow him down.

Blogger Reno Chris August 31, 2016 1:26 PM  

It should also be that the state gets 100% of any punitive damages - it is appropriate that the state meets out any punishment and not individuals. These "punitive damages" are the ridiculous assessments that make a case with $5,000 of actual damages cost millions. They are a big part of what is ballooning up tort settlements to the benefit of lawyers.

Anonymous Peter #0231 August 31, 2016 1:32 PM  

"It would be in the definite interest of the American people to pass a law that forbids lawyers to collect more than 10 percent of any settlement or court-dictated award."

Or at least modify the prohibition on dueling to allow thinning out the legal herd one at a time. But that's not gonna happen either.

Anonymous mature craig August 31, 2016 1:32 PM  

While i feel bad that lawyers have a high suicide rate...forcing people to give you and other people money with threat of jail is not an honorable way to make a living ....jts a shame they waste good minds on useless and harmful to everyone professions

Blogger Nate August 31, 2016 1:38 PM  

"It would be in the definite interest of the American people to pass a law that forbids lawyers to collect more than 10 percent of any settlement or court-dictated award."

Step One:

No one with a law degree gets to hold elected office.

Ever.

Blogger BarryCuda August 31, 2016 1:38 PM  

There are two portals to her vis-a-vis the US legal system: Contingency fees and the introduction of compoundability of virtually every stripe of criminal offense.

The former enables the bloodsucking slime known as trial attorneys to leech dry the body politic whereas the latter enables the government by and through its uniformed and suited thugs to terrorize the citizenry into submission.

Real reform would abolish these vile practices which are, in fact, recent and malevolent developments, in common law and, in fact, illegal per the traditional practice thereof.

Anonymous mature craig August 31, 2016 1:39 PM  

Ya know what i take that back

I have been wrong before maybe its good that there are lawyers
Peace.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr August 31, 2016 1:40 PM  

Class action suits tend to be particularly good for this sort of legal shakedown. And yes, there's clearly a need for a cap on what the attorneys can get...particularly for larger settlements.

My own opinion is also that any product liability suit must be tried before a technically competent jury...meaning engineers and (when applicable) maintainers. No more of this business of picking jurors who know nothing of the subject.

Anonymous mature craig August 31, 2016 1:40 PM  

I guess if there are laws there needs to be lawyers

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr August 31, 2016 1:42 PM  

@5: +1 on bringing back the duel. The Code solves a lot of problems.

Blogger dc.sunsets August 31, 2016 1:46 PM  

Consent underlies all of this, and consent exists only because the herd is grossly obese, contentedly chewing a Big Mac, watching the latest gladiatorial game on ESPN.

Until social mood tops and undergoes a Phase Change, the (pathological) trends will continue.

Anonymous WinstonWebb August 31, 2016 1:47 PM  

I guess if there is alcohol there needs to be alcoholics.

Blogger Nate August 31, 2016 1:47 PM  

"I guess if there are laws there needs to be lawyers"

no. The problem with lawyers is the destroy the most important innovation Western Civilization provided the world:

Written Law.

If only a small subset of people get to decide what the law says.. then its no different than a king that makes up the law off the top of his head.

Anonymous WinstonWebb August 31, 2016 1:48 PM  

I guess if there is sex there needs to be sexists.

Blogger praetorian August 31, 2016 1:49 PM  

Knives out for Harambe...

Anonymous mature craig August 31, 2016 1:50 PM  

Exactly if there is wood there has to be carpenters

Anonymous mature craig August 31, 2016 1:52 PM  

If there is metal there has to be welders

Anonymous WinstonWebb August 31, 2016 1:53 PM  

Exactly if there is art there has to be con artists.

Anonymous VFM #6306 August 31, 2016 1:53 PM  

Nate wrote:"It would be in the definite interest of the American people to pass a law that forbids lawyers to collect more than 10 percent of any settlement or court-dictated award."

Step One:

No one with a law degree gets to hold elected office.

Ever.


Preach.

What's remarkable is that these lawyers were such crappy bankers that they only made off with $4M. Yahoo was probably planning for a $20M license to scan, and got a bargain. Maybe they promised to hire their "opponents" on retainer. You know, to make sure they stayed on the straight and narrow, only scanning every email once or something.

Anonymous p-dawg August 31, 2016 1:54 PM  

@4 And you want to give the state an incentive to monopolize those monies? I think that's a bad idea. Look at how "asset forfeiture" has corrupted law enforcement, and multiply that by a million.

Anonymous WinstonWebb August 31, 2016 1:55 PM  

If there is semen there has to be a submarine

Anonymous WinstonWebb August 31, 2016 1:57 PM  

If there is semen there has to be submarines

Blogger dc.sunsets August 31, 2016 1:58 PM  

@4 @17
It's oh so worse. Hans Herman Hoppe describes the real situation in his discussion about his book, Democracy The God that Failed.
https://mises.org/library/democratic-leviathan

Any monopoly is "bad" for consumers because, shielded from potential new entrants into its line of production, the price for its product will be higher and the quality lower than with free entry. And a monopolist with ultimate decison-making powers is particularly bad. While other monopolists produce inferior goods, a monopolist judge, besides producing inferior goods, will produce bads, because he who is the ultimate judge in every case of conflict also has the last word in each conflict involving himself. Consequently, instead of preventing and resolving conflict, a monopolist of ultimate decision making will cause and provoke conflict in order to settle it to his own advantage.

Not only would no one accept such a monopoly judge provision, but no one would ever agree to a provision that allowed this judge to determine the price to be paid for his "service" unilaterally. Predictably, such a monopolist would use up ever more resources (tax revenue) to produce fewer goods and perpetrate more bads. This is not a prescription for protection but for oppression and exploitation.

Anonymous mature craig August 31, 2016 2:00 PM  

Lawyets are ok my brother hired one who helped him get out of a jam.my brother would have been screwed

Anonymous Invid August 31, 2016 2:00 PM  

The other thing to look at with class action settlements is the cy pres award (supposed to go to some organization to help rectify what caused the lawsuit to begin with). Lots of lawyers create cy pres organizations and then collect administration fees. So, VFM #6306, they might have squeezed some extra past the $4M.

Anonymous WinstonWebb August 31, 2016 2:03 PM  

Mafia hitmen are ok my brother hired one who helped him get out of a jam.my brother would have been screwed

Blogger plishman August 31, 2016 2:03 PM  

@10 : Phase change. This must happen in the information layer of reality. Acting solely in the kinetic layer will not work (hasn't worked). Our capabilities in this layer are too great (nukes).

The result of action in the kinetic layer will be a reduction in capacity, ability and awareness of the people (destruction, return to the stone age). We want the opposite.

The people are aware of something they call the 'consciousness shift'. It is real, and it can be done.

Anonymous mature craig August 31, 2016 2:06 PM  

Yes i know my logic is retarded awesome observation... But listen notice how even in my meanest comment i still acknowledge that they have good minds

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 August 31, 2016 2:14 PM  

Can a client bring a lawsuit against these lawyers?

I mean, I'm sure there are rival law firms out there.

Blogger praetorian August 31, 2016 2:17 PM  

Not only would no one accept such a monopoly judge provision,

I say this as a huge fan of Hoppe (I think his argumentation ethics concept is an fantastic application of diagonalization in moral reasoning, as close as we will get to Godel in that sphere): He got the problem right, but the solution wrong. The right solution is a sufficiently small political unit where the monopoly judges identify, to a large enough extent, with the ruled.

Not perfect, but the the libertarian project lies, in tatters, before us, gentlemen.

Blogger Aeoli Pera August 31, 2016 2:19 PM  

I hear that when an Eskimo gets a law degree, a couple of tribemates discreetly push him off the ice.

Blogger Aeoli Pera August 31, 2016 2:20 PM  

(That joke was too obscure. Look up "kunlangeta" for referent.)

Anonymous Dack Thrombosis August 31, 2016 2:21 PM  

I've often thought the real purpose of SCOTUS these days is to open up vast new areas ripe for the pluckings by these pukes. Gay marriage? Think of all the new divorce cases!

Anonymous WinstonWebb August 31, 2016 2:21 PM  

mature craigAugust 31, 2016 2:06 PM
Yes i know my logic is retarded


Good. The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Blogger tublecane August 31, 2016 2:26 PM  

Lawyers are an especially powerful part of the intellectual class, but they are just a part of it. We must shoot them all, unliterally. I'd start with judges before lawyers proper. Or maybe we should go to the source and shoot law professors.

Does anyone else remember the book "Lone Star Planet," about a Texas-y planet where you could legally assassinate judges so long as you demonstrated in court afterwards that he had miscarried justice? It wasn't that good a book, but the premise was stellar.

Anonymous BGKB August 31, 2016 2:30 PM  

My own opinion is also that any product liability suit must be tried before a technically competent jury

That would lead to every malpractice suit would end up with healthcare workers on the jury when its the opposite now.

I guess if there is sex there needs to be sexists

If there are dykes there needs to be Dutch boys fingers.

new areas ripe for the pluckings by these pukes. Gay marriage? Think of all the new divorce cases!

It didn't even take a month before the first gay divorce law firm opened.

Blogger tublecane August 31, 2016 2:35 PM  

@5-That reminds me of an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, where one of the main characters wants to challenge the recurring lawyer character to a duel, because his honor demands satisfaction, or whatever. To illustrate why that's a reasonable course of action he points to a picture in a book of guys in wigs dueling, saying they're lawyers and that's how lawyers settle disputes. I should point out that he's illiterate, which is why he has to use a picture.

When asked how he knows the guys are lawyers, he responds, "Because it's an old book." I miss the olden times. Nowadays the only people who believe the codo duello are gangbangers, and in their grand tradition of laziness and spontaneity, they don't abide by formal rules. Rather, they just start spraying bullets at a party, for instance, and hit innocent 10 year olds instead of their intended targets.

Blogger tublecane August 31, 2016 2:41 PM  

@6-That will elicit retorts like, "Then how would they write/read/understand the laws they pass/sign/enforce." But elected officials don't write or read laws, much less understand them, and they are carried out by the supposedly apolitical permanent government. So what's the difference?

Except judges, who do get elected and are expected to understand the law. We can't exactly stop them from being or having been lawyers, I think. There's gotta be some way to put the fear of God in them. Democracy doesn't work on that count.

Blogger dc.sunsets August 31, 2016 2:44 PM  

@24 praetorian,
I completely concur, and I suspect so does Professor Hoppe. Like Rothbard, I think there comes a time when the most theoretically pure libertarian realizes that the world is made of reality, not theory.

As I read Hoppe, I think he sees that the best hope of a relatively lasting (no such thing as permanent) social system would be a hereditary monopoly instituted among a homogeneous people predisposed to relatively fair play (so by definition, largely people of the original British colonies, with a smattering of other Northern Europeans.)

You have to insure that "the people" see "the government" as a necessary evil to be scrutinized with cynicism, not a Power Center to be contested over so they can use it to enrich themselves at others' expense. Heredity is one way to insure that "everyone can't rule," an essential.

Otherwise, you're right. Homogeneity on the SCOPE of the tasks assigned to the state is also key. As Reagan said, a government that can give you everything can also take everything you have. Our current system is simply Organized Crime that enjoys widespread consent and over which everyone hopes to exert the power to steal.

No wonder we're heading toward oblivion.

Blogger John Regan August 31, 2016 2:46 PM  

Look, there are a lot of problems with lawyers and the legal profession, but this little anecdote about $4 million in legal fees, which undoubtedly compensated significant expenditure of time and resources (however unjustified that expenditure appears to have been) shouldn't make it onto anyone's outrage-du-jour list. Bankers were bailed out to the tune of $12 trillion, but there don't seem to be any "let's kill all the bankers" jokes.

The vitriol directed at lawyers over petty BS like this puzzles me.

Blogger Nate August 31, 2016 2:48 PM  

"That will elicit retorts like, "Then how would they write/read/understand the laws they pass/sign/enforce." "

which is rather like saying how can you possibly write comments on the internet when you don't have a phd in English?

Blogger Nate August 31, 2016 2:48 PM  

"The vitriol directed at lawyers over petty BS like this puzzles me."

That's because you're not very smart.

Blogger Anchorman August 31, 2016 2:49 PM  

That money seems to be more like a payoff to thugs so they'd stop harassing than compensation.

Blogger Anchorman August 31, 2016 2:52 PM  

The vitriol directed at lawyers over petty BS like this puzzles me.

Lawyers created the laws to stop the common man from having reasonable access to the court system.

You are compelled to hire a lawyer if life or liberty (economic or other) is on the line. And when the compensation is awarded, the lawyers protect their own.

This is the same grift our politicians run.

Win or lose - they win and scraps are given to the victims or citizens.

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian August 31, 2016 2:52 PM  

@34 ut there don't seem to be any "let's kill all the bankers" jokes.


You must be new here.

Blogger seeingsights August 31, 2016 2:53 PM  

I agree with the point that lawyers should be limited on what they can collect on a lawsuit. And if any of them say "but free market free market" my reply is that the legal field is not a free market, it's intertwined with the state, so laws about fees can be appropriate here.

Blogger pyrrhus August 31, 2016 2:59 PM  

And this kind of class action settlement has been going on since at least the 1980s, though often the class members have gotten some virtually worthless coupon or discount as a fig leaf.

Blogger tublecane August 31, 2016 3:00 PM  

@34-That's because Shakespeare didn't write any. People do talk about the "pound of flesh," however.

I think your point is misplaced. There are few professions more reviled than banking. And it's not as if the bailouts were greeted with an, "Oh, that's 'swell," from the American people. We had the TEA Party on the right and Occupy Wall Street on the left on protest.

OpenID basementhomebrewer August 31, 2016 3:02 PM  

John Regan wrote:Look, there are a lot of problems with lawyers and the legal profession, but this little anecdote about $4 million in legal fees, which undoubtedly compensated significant expenditure of time and resources (however unjustified that expenditure appears to have been) shouldn't make it onto anyone's outrage-du-jour list. Bankers were bailed out to the tune of $12 trillion, but there don't seem to be any "let's kill all the bankers" jokes.

The vitriol directed at lawyers over petty BS like this puzzles me.



Nate said it more succinctly, but I will try to explain something to you. The lawyers not only charged a significant fee but also agreed to let Yahoo continue the practice they were originally sued for performing. This means not only were the actual victims of the practice not compensated for their damages but also that they will continue to be damaged while the lawyers walked away with a fat stack of cash.

If you can't see that the only thing this whole lawsuit accomplished was enriching the lawyers on the case then you are either a leech lawyer yourself or too short for this ride.

Blogger pyrrhus August 31, 2016 3:03 PM  

"The vitriol directed at lawyers over petty BS like this puzzles me."

Huh? I've been a attorney for several decades, mostly corporate/energy law, and I am outraged by this. I don't know any attorneys (who aren't class action lawyers) who think these class action scams are "petty." They undermine public confidence in the law.

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) August 31, 2016 3:03 PM  

Bankers were bailed out to the tune of $12 trillion, but there don't seem to be any "let's kill all the bankers" jokes.

Jump you fuckers?

Blogger praetorian August 31, 2016 3:03 PM  

The vitriol directed at lawyers over petty BS like this puzzles me.

I see this sort of fag-talk on HackerNews all the time:

"I'm confused..." "Puzzling..." "It seems strange..." "Seems weird..."

I'm starting to think this sort of language is intentional and derived from some shitty psy-ops research around denormalizing opponents...

Anonymous Gen. Kong August 31, 2016 3:08 PM  

Harry, an engineer, was working on a project one day and stepped in front of a speeding bus on the way back from lunch. Consequently, he found himself facing St. Peter at the proverbial pearly gates.

St. Peter: Harry, we've got the account of your life which seems OK, but I'm sorry to say your name isn't to be found in the Book of Life.

With those words, a trap door opened beneath Harry and be plummeted many light-years away very, very fast. Landing in hell, he noticed the very high temperature, screams of agony, flames, etc. Being an engineer, Harry soon started figuring out a way to bring in some A/C and Ice, and to reduce the open flames….

Later on, Satan was standing before the throne of the almighty giving his periodic report on things down in hell and thanked God profusely for sending him Harry the Engineer, who had improved conditions remarkably down there.

God: Harry the Engineer? He's not supposed to be there! Send him back at once!

Satan: Sorry Lord, but we cannot bear to be without him. We absolutely cannot return him now as there would be nobody to keep the cooling units and ice machines running.

God: Send him immediately … or I'll sue!

Satan (tapping foot): … and just where do you think you'll get a lawyer??

Blogger John Regan August 31, 2016 3:23 PM  

@pyrrhus:

I'm an attorney. I'm not a class action lawyer. But I'm not a "corporate/energy" lawyer either. There's plenty of blame to go around for undermining public confidence in the law. Government lawyers and probably "corporate/energy" lawyers shoulder a lot more of it than "class action" lawyers. It's not that I even approve of class actions. Even "good" ones. I think the whole practice is questionable, for lots of reasons. But not because some law firm got a $4 million fee. The hysteria here is unserious.

Blogger Were-Puppy August 31, 2016 3:27 PM  

@34 John Regan

Bankers were bailed out to the tune of $12 trillion, but there don't seem to be any "let's kill all the bankers" jokes.
---

Heh you've not been paying attention then. Banksters are one of the enemies as well around here.

Blogger robwbright August 31, 2016 3:28 PM  

I'm a lawyer. I don't generally like lawyers and the way the court system works. I want the license schemes removed so there's a free market in practicing law and I consider bar associations unions that exist to protect attorneys and keep wages up. That said...

Is the ignorance in the OP and some of the comments feigned or do you guys really not understand this case or how things work procedurally?

And where did anyone say this case was a contingent fee/percentage case where the attorneys took all of the clients' money? But I'll get to that...

First, if Yahoo hadn't fought this case for years and forced the attorneys to expend 1000s of hours attempting to get Yahoo to bend the knee, then the attorney fees wouldn't have been so large.

Second, the $5000 or 3x's actual damages is apparently all the Plaintiffs could have ever recovered (Per Cali penal code section here: http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/637.2.html). Since violations of personal liberty are difficult to quantify... well, the $5000 per Plaintiff was it. And those 4 named Plaintiffs WERE given the $5000 each in the settlement.

As such, this was not a percentage/contingent fee case at all. It was a case in which the Plaintiffs were entitled to attorney fees if they "won". The attorneys apparently took the case expecting to have to do 1000s of hours of work (because Yahoo was going to fight it) but also expecting to win and be compensated for that work. It was NOT as if the money the attorneys got was money that should have went to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs were NEVER going to get millions.

Third, the plaintiffs in that or any other case were not required to join the class. They could have brought their cases separately with OR WITHOUT attorneys. They chose not to. I wonder why... Could it be that they preferred not to risk anything themselves?

Fourth, ALL of the class plaintiffs consented in writing to an aggregate settlement rather than go it alone - thereby leaving the result of the settlement in the hands of the judge for approval. But hey, let's blame the lawyers for the clients making specific choices in writing...

Fifth, are y'all now taking the position that clients should not be free to contract with their attorneys on whatever terms the parties can agree on?

If the attorney is willing to do the case on a contingent fee, the attorney is still required to offer to take a case on an hourly fee. I have yet to see a single client choose the hourly rate - because the clients either don't have the money to front the cost of litigation or the clients don't want to risk their own money. So they prefer to have the lawyer risk the firm's money and time. Then they bitch and complain when the attorney takes a fee that they think is too high. If you aren't willing to contract on those terms, then don't. No one is forcing you to. The courts are open to lay persons.

If the case had gone to trial and the Plaintiffs had lost, the attorneys would have recovered ZERO for the 1000s of hours expended.

Even if the case WERE a contingent fee case... the result of the proposal in the OP to limit the right of individuals to contract with attorneys (i.e. no more than 10% of recovery) is that many clients will not find attorneys to handle their case. If it were a contingent fee case and the maximum recovery for the attorneys was 10%, then that case would never have been brought and Yahoo wouldn't have paid a single damn dime for their violations. If you think that's preferable, that's fine. The system - as it is - sucks. But that appears to be the best the attorneys could do within the system.

Anonymous mature craig August 31, 2016 3:31 PM  

Thank you Pyrhuss and John Regan for building up my confidence again in law and lawyers


Anonymous mature craig August 31, 2016 3:33 PM  

Sorry for my earlier offensive comments i should know better

Anonymous BGKB August 31, 2016 3:41 PM  

the plaintiffs in that or any other case were not required to join the class. They could have brought their cases separately with

For a $5k payoff, you couldn't find a lawyer for less than the payment.

Bankers were bailed out to the tune of $12 trillion, but there don't seem to be any "let's kill all the bankers" jokes

You seriously never heard any "lets kill all the (((bankers)))" jokes?

A Jewish lawyer was troubled by the way his son turned out, and went to see his Rabbi about it. "I brought him up in the faith, gave him a very expensive bar mitzvah, cost me a fortune to educate him. Then he tells me last week he has decided to be a Christian. Rabbi... where did I go wrong?"
"Funny you should come to me," said the Rabbi. "Like you, I, too, brought my boy up in the faith, put him through University, cost me a fortune, then one day he comes and tells me he has decided to become a Christian."
"What did you do?" asked the lawyer. "I turned to God for the answer," replied the rabbi.
"And what did he say?" God said "Mine too!"

“Jewish doctors and Jewish bankers — who does God love more?” “The doctors, and here’s the proof: Because in the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ comes before ‘Thou shalt not steal.’”

How do you get a broker down from a tree? Cut the rope.

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) August 31, 2016 3:56 PM  

The referenced ISDS investigation:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/globalsupercourt

Blogger Dave August 31, 2016 4:06 PM  

The hysteria here is unserious.

Nah mate, that was the Trump threads at the height of the primary season. Those threads had hundreds and hundreds of comments. This thread is already petering out.

Blogger VoodooJock August 31, 2016 4:08 PM  

What's a good alternative to those 2 mail programs then?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 31, 2016 4:22 PM  

John Regan wrote:The vitriol directed at lawyers over petty BS like this puzzles me.

Ever been sued? It's like receiving a notice from the bank that your account has been hacked. Even a trivially stupid and unjustified lawsuit will cost thousands, and no matter how stupid, could wind up costing you everything you have.

That's why people react. They realize that this could happen to them, with no warning, with no justification,a nd no defense

If I have done nothing wrong, with law and case law backing up that I have done nothing wrong, Joe Litigant and his shyster lawyer can still, with the connivance of the courts, take everything I have. They might win based on some new legal theory they concoct, and even if they fail, cost me tens of thousands of dollars.

Lawyers and judges have built a system that picks out nearly-random people, ruins some, merely devastates others, tortures the participants for years and sometimes decades, and almost never achieves anything resembling justice.

My grandfather was both a lawyer and a judge, and he would be appalled at what the system has become.

Anonymous Peter #0231 August 31, 2016 4:36 PM  

robwbright:

That, sir, will be quite enough of you and your pesky facts. Now answer the question: swords or pistols?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 31, 2016 5:00 PM  

robwbright wrote:First, if Yahoo hadn't fought this case for years and forced the attorneys to expend 1000s of hours attempting to get Yahoo to bend the knee, then the attorney fees wouldn't have been so large.
So Yahoo should have just surrendered? I'm sure you think that. And on the next 1500 bogus class-action suits they should just surrender too?

Second, the $5000 or 3x's actual damages is apparently all the Plaintiffs could have ever recovered... And those 4 named Plaintiffs WERE given the $5000 each in the settlement.
The PLAINTIFFS were almost certainly the lawyers themselves or their close associates, employees or family members.

The attorneys apparently took the case expecting to have to do 1000s of hours of work (because Yahoo was going to fight it) but also expecting to win and be compensated for that work. ...The plaintiffs were NEVER going to get millions.
The intent was NEVER to make a nickel for the plaintiffs. The attorneys CREATED the suit in the expectation that they could CHARGE FOR "1000s of hours." The plaintiffs were a pretext to allow filing the suit.

Third, the plaintiffs in that or any other case were not required to join the class. They could have brought their cases separately with OR WITHOUT attorneys. They chose not to. I wonder why... Could it be that they preferred not to risk anything themselves?
They were never an active part of the process. The lawyers brought them paperwork and said, "If this works out, your signature here will be worth $5000 in a couple of years. Also, keep in mind that any person who failed to exclude himself from the class action no longer has any grounds for suit.

Fourth, ALL of the class plaintiffs consented in writing to an aggregate settlement rather than go it alone... But hey, let's blame the lawyers for the clients making specific choices in writing...
Because the lawyers themselves (where not barred by statute) or their close associates are the plaintiffs.

Fifth, are y'all now taking the position that clients should not be free to contract with their attorneys on whatever terms the parties can agree on?
Lawyers enjoy special privileges as officers of the court, among which is a monopoly of legal work. Are you going to go all free market on us? In a free market in legal work your income would drop by 80% or more.

If the case had gone to trial and the Plaintiffs had lost, the attorneys would have recovered ZERO for the 1000s of hours expended.
The intent was NEVER to go to trial. It was to eat up Yahoo's lawyers' time until they gave in. Even on the eve of trial, the mere cost of having Yahoo's lawyers in the courtroom for a week is worth more than the "1000s of hours" that these scam artists put in to the case.

If it were a contingent fee case and the maximum recovery for the attorneys was 10%, then that case would never have been brought and Yahoo wouldn't have paid a single damn dime for their violations.
And that would have hindered the cause of justice, how exactly?

This was a pure class-action harassment lawsuit. It served neither the class, nor justice. It was concocted entirely by the lawyers for the purpose of enriching the lawyers, by the means of costing yahoo enough money that they paid them to go away.

Anonymous Gen. Kong August 31, 2016 5:07 PM  

4 million is chickenfeed. The thing I find interesting are the lawyers around here still ghost-dancing as if there is a rule of law in the Banana Empire. It's a long-dead corpse. Under what passes for "law" in Kwa-bananaland, some are considerably more equal than others. Lizard Queen's ability to laugh and walk away from things far worse that things others have been sent to the federal gulag for. Not to mention Corzine's handy ability to steal 1.8 billion in customer funds.

What do you call the monkey who graduated at the bottom of its med school class? Doctor

What do you call the monkey who graduated at the bottom of its law school class? Your Honor

Stop the ghost-dancing. Rule of Law delenda est.

Anonymous jdgalt August 31, 2016 5:28 PM  

I predict that your proposal will be signed into law -- and make no difference, except that a few dozen family members of lawyers will get new jobs as dummy plaintiffs.

Blogger pyrrhus August 31, 2016 6:00 PM  

@49 I'm not objecting to the attorneys' fees. Apparently that wasn't clear...I'm objecting to the absence of any relief for the class members. If the attorneys had forced Yahoo to change its policies, that would have justified the fees. My understanding is that nothing was accomplished.

Blogger residentMoron August 31, 2016 6:08 PM  

John Regan

Whataboutery is unserious.

A majority here have already agreed on the need to hang:
-the traitors who opened the borders
-the filth flowing over those borders
-the political leech class who pretend to oppose the traitors
-the bankster class who fund A & C, and are in turn re-funded by them at out expense

Now we're quibbling over minor details.

That's you, Mr Regan; a minor detail.

Anonymous Eric the Red August 31, 2016 7:32 PM  

God, the typical responses from lawyers here prove they are absolutely clueless about the horrendous damage they've done to society both incrementally and in leaps and bounds...

This bears repeating:
A deeply embedded problem in this society, and one that few seem to recognize, is that we've allowed society to be controlled by lawyers.

Instead of what passes for laws now, they should be written as no more than 10 pages, stating explicitly what situations they cover, and explicitly what situations they do NOT cover.

Instead, (and I got this long ago from some now unknown source):

'Since the time of the New Deal, it has become common practice for the actual texts of laws before Congress to devolve into gaseous, convoluted statements of aspirations, with the actual working details of legislation thrown over the transom to the executive branch, euphemistically termed "regulations". Bluntly, Congress has abdicated its duty to work the details of laws except in such cases as it is moved to jigger the tax code to reward friends, punish enemies or to direct federal contracts to its friends. Leaving the details of laws as well as their mechanization to unelected bureaucrats has become SOP, presenting a major risk to liberty.'

(back to my take):
In a reformulated traditional society, a Congress would actually have to write detailed legislation prescribing what could and could not be done, without having to turn over unfettered discretion to bureaucrats in order to decide what Congress really meant. The left especially couldn't hide behind the language of legislation; they'd actually have to put their agenda forward in plain language. Those jokers in Congress couldn't do any of it, which is why the doctrine is now largely ignored and why our liberties are in such peril.

Who's supposed to challenge the nine assholes on the so-called supreme court when they rip the Constitution and our society to shreds? Oh, right, all the lawyers in Congress and the executive branch. Set a fox to watch the henhouse.

(and more):
Make it illegal for lawyers to enter the executive or legislative branches, since they are already de-facto members of the court. The three branches of government are supposed to give us separation of powers, but practicing lawyers are automatically proponents of the judiciary. Since the law is neither moral nor logical, you can easily surmise what the hell that makes lawyers.

Lawyers are allowed to become legislators who write laws so tortured as to intents and limits, that they repeatedly have to come back in an attempt to clean up the mess. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

This sets up a major destructive feedback loop that requires ever more lawyers.

The law is neither moral nor logical... what do you think that makes lawyers? What country has 70% of the world's lawyers? Does anyone else here think that's a little bit over the top? And why and how did it get that way? Lawyers should not be in control of this society, never. Do I hate lawyers ??? Oh noooooooo...

Anonymous Eric the Red August 31, 2016 7:38 PM  

Lawyers are miserable termites gnawing away at the foundations of society. They are at once too clever to stop their gluttony, and too stupid to know they are destroying everything around them.

Anonymous Peter #0231 August 31, 2016 7:56 PM  

Because I enjoy throwing gasoline on the fire:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/08/new-york-ethics-panellaw-firms-can-charge-clients-for-the-work-of-unpaid-law-student-interns.html

Anonymous Eric the Red August 31, 2016 7:58 PM  

Be honest... ask yourself, what's the major threat always hanging over honest peoples' heads in this society, the thing that keeps them in thrall?

The constant, ever-growing threat of being sued for anything and everything under the sun.

So is that a "normal" society? One that we should continue to live with every damn day?

Anonymous Gen. Kong August 31, 2016 8:51 PM  

That was a splendid rant from Eric the Red. As I mentioned before, there is no rule of law in the Banana Empire and anyone who thinks there is is deluded or just plain lying to your face. The faux-legislature doesn't even bother to read the damned "laws" it rubber stamps, and the blackrobes rule however they fancy. Hell, the last blackrobe to actually be impeached by the congress of whores (for openly taking bribes in his office), Alcee Hastings, ran for Congress where he sits collecting his fat salary on his fat black ass. Lawyers aren't termites, but merely maggots chomping away at a rotting carcass. Now and again one will metamorphasize into a blowfly and run for office or take a job at an NGO.

Anonymous George of the Jungle August 31, 2016 9:21 PM  

How far would the banksters have gotten without a stable of high-powered lawyers to cover their asses?

Blogger John Wright August 31, 2016 11:03 PM  

Good Lord! I am a lawyer and this makes ME want to shoot all the lawyers.

This is no different than a mobster racket.

How did a free people allow themselves to be tied up like Gulliver by such Lilliputians?

Line us all up and shoot us. I am willing to make the sacrifice for the good of society.

Blogger weka September 01, 2016 7:21 AM  

@69. Charles II had the prosecutor of his father.John Cooke, hung, drawn and quartered. The precedent has been set.

Shooting is too good for lawyers.

Blogger weka September 01, 2016 7:23 AM  

Addendum: those who have repented from the law, such as the good Virginian Gentlemen Wright and Kratman, should be spared.

Blogger dienw September 01, 2016 7:37 AM  

Nate wrote:"It would be in the definite interest of the American people to pass a law that forbids lawyers to collect more than 10 percent of any settlement or court-dictated award."

Step One:

No one with a law degree gets to hold elected office.

Ever.


I came across an article years ago that stated that there was an actual 13th amendment that forbade lawyers from holding office in Congress; but, because the lawyers already owned the place, the ratified amendment way quietly ignored and never put on the books.

Anonymous LastRedoubt September 01, 2016 7:49 AM  

No John, you're a science fiction author .

Though being a good one may be why the SJWs keep you in line to shoot you.

Blogger John Regan September 01, 2016 9:22 AM  

Two things:

1. The idea of limiting contingent fees to 10% is a bad compromise. At one time contingency fees weren't permitted at all because "champerty" and "barratry", and while there is some sense to this for the sake of the profession and avoiding appearances like the case complained of here, the flip side of the coin was that all kinds of meritorious cases couldn't be brought because it wasn't economically feasible. Limiting fees to 10% doesn't really alleviate the former detrimental effect but would be harmful to the latter beneficial aspect of permitting contingency fees in the first place. A better solution might be to bring back champerty and barratry sanctions although that's a long discussion.

2. The prohibition of lawyers holding positions in the other two branches has a lot of merit, in my opinion, not that that matters. In fact I have asked the question from time to time how we can have public prosecutors, who are members of the executive branch and also members of the judicial branch, without violating the separation of powers, and there doesn't seem to be a good answer. Add to that that public prosecutors haven't always been with us, having made their appearance in the 19th century, prior to which criminal cases were assigned to private attorneys to prosecute, and I think a good case could be made. Not that anyone's going to do anything about that any time soon, if ever.

Blogger Michael Deloatch September 02, 2016 7:43 AM  

I have kidded with my wife that someone should start a class action against class actions. I can just see the TV commercials -- "have you been injured by a class action lawsuit commercial, have you suffered anxiety when you received unsolicited mail from some sweatshop law firm advising you are in a class of people who lost a penny in bubble gum dispensers in the 1970s, did you have unchartitable thoughts when you saw lawyers congregating at a courthouse... call 1-800-SUE-ATTY..."

The case would go forward, the court would find for the class, nobody would get a penny outside of the oldest profession, but vast portions of the entire legal system would vanish in a spontaneous black hole to rival CERN."

Anonymous Spartacus xxxxx September 02, 2016 9:37 PM  

John Regan wrote:2. I have asked the question from time to time how we can have public prosecutors, who are members of the executive branch and also members of the judicial branch, without violating the separation of powers, and there doesn't seem to be a good answer. Add to that that public prosecutors haven't always been with us, having made their appearance in the 19th century, prior to which criminal cases were assigned to private attorneys to prosecute, and I think a good case could be made. Not that anyone's going to do anything about that any time soon, if ever.

Really appreciate your input. How is the prosecutor part of the judicial branch, in what regard? Is it the prosecutorial discretion part? The "officer of the court" bs? Has anyone ever mounted a constitutional challenge?

Side note- the worst kangaroo court I've ever seen was in Portland, Oregon, Multnomah Court Courthouse maybe ten years ago. It was a minor traffic ticket. The cop (out of uniform) sat where the prosecutor would sit. The jury box was filled with cops in uniform all glowering at the defendants. The 'prosecutor-cop' gets up and says "The State would like to blah blah...' If I'd had my wits about me I would have asked him where he went to law school, bar#, license, etc.


dienw wrote:I came across an article years ago that stated that there was an actual 13th amendment that forbade lawyers from holding office in Congress; but, because the lawyers already owned the place, the ratified amendment way quietly ignored and never put on the books.

Yeah, the Titles of Nobility amendment, forbidding things like "Knight", "Squire, and "Esq.". The idea was that there should not be special classes of privileged and immune people. This was long before the establishment of the bar and the doctrine of prosecutorial immunity. Rumor has it that part of the reason the British burned DC down in the War of 1812 was to destroy the records of this amendment.

Blogger Patriotic Canadian September 03, 2016 9:35 PM  

...pour encourage les autre... I'm sure something can be done to fix the lawyer question...

Blogger Patriotic Canadian September 03, 2016 9:39 PM  

Amen. What do we do with the rest already in power? I'm thinking borrow a page from the Russians and establish northern gulags in Alaska and Canada

Blogger Patriotic Canadian September 03, 2016 9:41 PM  

Kinda like how military tribunals work. Some things need to be resolved internally

Blogger Patriotic Canadian September 03, 2016 9:45 PM  

+1 do you still have those contacts? (SARCASM)

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