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So, I was flipping through a magazine the other day, and tucked on a half-page ad, all the way at the back of the pub on page 169, was a Legal Notice titled “Adults 18 years and older could be affected by a Class Action Settlement involving consumer reporting.”
I don’t usually bother reading class action lawsuits, but for some reason, this one grabbed my attention.
The notice starts off, “A Settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit involving certain reports sold by LexisNexis. If you are 18 years or older, you are probably included in the Settlement because there is likely information about you in the LexisNexis database.”
In case you’re not familiar with LexisNexis®, they’re a global provider of legal information services, and have been serving the legal, law enforcement, risk management, corporate and academic communities for over 100 years. Among their many services, they create websites for law firms, deliver breaking legal news headlines via their online News Room, and publish authoritative legal reference materials.
The case alleges that the LexisNexis Risk Analytics Group produced and sold Accurint® consumer reports to debt collection agencies and failed to follow Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements that apply to consumer reporting.
LexisNexis denies their reports were “consumer reports,” but agreed to the Settlement to “resolve the case and provide benefits to consumers.” (This, according to the Legal Notice in the magazine.)
However, keep reading and you learn that no money will actually be paid to Class Members. Instead, LexisNexis will put into place “substantial procedures” that address concerns raised by the lawsuit.
Read a few paragraphs further and you see that there is a court hearing scheduled for October 3, 2013 to “consider any objections, whether to approve the Settlement, and to award attorneys’ fees and expenses up to $5.5 million.”
Think about it.
A lawsuit, filed against a legal services firm, and the end result is not one penny will be paid to the people damaged by the allegedly illegal practice outlined in the lawsuit. Instead, a 5.5 million dollar payout will go to the lawyers for legal fees and expenses! No wonder the world is full of lawyer jokes.
For more information about the case and your rights concerning the settlement, there’s a toll-free number in the ad. Call 1-888-538-5784 or see CollectionReportLawsuit.com.
FYI, the website is legit. A quick lookup of “CollectionReportLawsuit.com” on WhoIs reveals the site owner is Rust Consulting, Inc. At first I sniffed a scam. Doesn’t sound much like a law firm, to me. But a Google search turned up an April 2013 article on the federalreserve.gov website indicating that Rust Consulting was the notification and paying agent for the $247 million dollar payout in the mortgage foreclosure class action settlement against Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley; so clearly, they’re legit.
Incidentally, the $5.5 million in lawyers’ expenses and fees is not that large by comparison to the other lawsuits. According to a December 28, 2011 article published in the Wall Street Journal, the Enron class action case resulted in over 688 million in legal fees, Tyco had 492 million, and WorldCom resulted in $336 — yes — just for the legal fees and related expenses.
Lawsuits. Quite a lucrative business! And when it’s lawyers suing a legal services firm, with the payout going to no one other than the lawyers, it’s not only rich in dollars, it’s rich in comedy.
Accurint is a trademark of LexisNexis Risk Data Management Inc., LexisNexis is a trademark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc. Click this link for more on what is a class action lawsuit.
Suzy Kedzierski is a B2B marketing communications specialist, job seeker, freelance writer, and consultant. Learn more at about me or see www.Linkedin.com/in/suzykedzierski. Then contact me at suzykedz @ gmail dot com.