Twice Screwed

Here is a prime example of what is wrong with our country today.

I received the following email notice that I had been included in a class action lawsuit was recently settled by Dell involving customers in California and Arizona who alleged that Dell mislead them about its promised next business day in-home repairs on computers bought from the company.

Dell’s service certainly has slipped and who has not been stuck in the queue waiting for someone to help us?  But few of us sue over such bad service—we get revenge by buying another brand and bad-mouth the manufacturer all over Facebook and Twitter!

But this is not about bad service from manufacturers—it’s about something worse—class action lawsuits that allow lawyers to file claims and then take a huge portion of the settlement leaving the “alleged victim” victimized twice—first by the company and then by the lawyers.

Do we really think anything got better because Dell agreed to pay $10 million to induce these lawyers to settle this class action lawsuit giving customers affected $10, $8 or $4 depending upon how long they waited for service in California or Arizona while the lawyers rake in contingency fees of $5.4 million?

U. S. DISTRICT COURT, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, SAN JOSE DIVISION

SUMMARY NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION AND PROPOSED SETTLEMENT

VIVIAN FIORI ARIZA, ROGGIE TRUJILLO, PAMELA NEWPORT, RAUL REYES, and ROBERT DEAN, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, 

Plaintiffs,

vs.

DELL INC., a corporation; BANCTEC, INC., a corporation; WORLDWIDE TECHSERVICES, LLC, an entity; DELL CATALOG SALES, L.P., an entity; DELL PRODUCTS, L.P., an entity; DELL MARKETING L.P., an entity; DELL MARKETING L.P., LLC, an entity; DELL MARKETING G.P., LLC, an entity; DELL USA, L.P., an entity; and DOES 1 through 10, Defendants

Case No. 09 CV 01518 JW

THIS NOTICE ADVISES YOU OF A PROPOSED CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT WITH DELL INC., BANCTEC, INC., AND WORLDWIDE TECHSERVICES, LLC f/k/a QUALXSERV, LLC. THIS NOTICE MAY AFFECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS.

PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY.

This summary notice informs you about the settlement of Fiori et al. v. Dell Inc. et al., United States District Court, Northern District of California, Case No. 09 CV 01518 JW, which challenges Dell’s sales practices relating to its first year at-home service contract charges and its next business day service representations. Defendants deny all allegations of wrongdoing and have agreed to settle the case for the sole purpose of avoiding the uncertainties, expenses, and time of further litigation. Under the settlement, Dell agreed to pay cash benefits to eligible class members as set forth below and change its sales practices regarding its service contracts. If you are a consumer in California or Arizona who purchased a Dell computer with an at-home service contract directly from Dell between January 1, 2000 and July 31, 2010, then you are a class member, and the proposed settlement could affect your legal rights.

You may be entitled to a cash benefit of $10, $8, or $4 if you are a class member and you submit a Valid Claim Form. You must submit a Valid Claim Form by May 20, 2011, unless this date is extended, to seek payment.

You may submit a Claim Form online by clicking on this link and following the instructions there: [LINK REMOVED], or you may request a Claim Form by mail from the Independent Claims Administrator at the telephone number or address below. Please keep your PIN# which will assist in making your claim.

To exclude yourself from or object to this settlement and/or Class Counsel’s application for attorneys’ fees, costs, and incentive awards for the Class Representatives, or to move to intervene in the case or indicate your intent to appear at the final fairness hearing, you must follow the instructions in the Notice described below. The deadline to opt out of the class, submit a notice of appearance, or submit any objections is February 22, 2011; the deadline to move to intervene is January 27, 2011. If you opt out of the class, you may NOT file a claim, and you will not receive any compensation under the settlement. If you do not opt out of the class, you will be bound by the settlement and will release any and all claims that you may have against the defendants about the conduct at issue in this lawsuit. The Court will hold a final fairness hearing to decide whether to approve the proposed settlement on March 21, 2011, at 9:00 a.m., in Courtroom 8 of the U.S. District Court located at 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113. This date is subject to continuance by the Court. See further details on the settlement website by clicking this link: [LINK REMOVED]

This is only a summary notice of the settlement. The full and complete Notice, which provides additional information regarding the allegations and claims asserted in this case, this settlement, your rights as a class member, and Class Counsel’s application for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $5,368,000, and incentive awards in the amount of $5,000 for each Representative Plaintiff, is available at [link removed] or from the Independent Claims Administrator at Fiori v. Dell, et al., Claims Administrator, c/o Analytics, Inc., PO Box 2006, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2006, (toll free at 1-888-735-3412).

Let’s see, I file a lawsuit covering customers in two states, the company settles and I get half the settlement as attorney fees so next I file lawsuits in two more states and cash in, over and over and over again.

What a racket!

It makes me want to read more Shakespeare, especially Henry VI, part 2.  You know the part where Dick says to Jack Cade—“The first thing we’ll do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

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