Class action roundup: tires, Western Union, jam

by Walter Olson on September 19, 2003

At the new multi-author blog Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok writes that he’s angry: “The lawyers will get $19 million, the plaintiffs have no damages and I have been involved in an abuse of justice. I received notice yesterday that I was a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against Bridgestone/Firestone that is about to be settled. I was never injured by Firestone but that’s ok because injured people have their own lawsuit the one I am involved in is for people who were not injured. The lawsuit reads ‘Plaintiff Does Not Seek To Represent And This Litigation Does Not Involve Any Person Who Alleges That He or She Suffered Any Personal Injury or Property Damage Because Of A Failure Of One Of The Tires’ (capitalization in original.) Bear in mind that Firestone has already replaced all four of my tires with a competitor’s brand for free and similarly for many of the other plaintiffs.” (Sept. 16) Co-blogger Tyler Cowen at the same site isn’t any happier to discover that he is a member of the class in a suit against Western Union over its wire-funds-abroad service charging that, according to the legalese, “…the Defendants [made] misrepresentations about or otherwise failing to disclose to customers the fact that they received a more favorable exchange rate for converting U.S. dollars to foreign currency and foreign currency to U.S. dollars than they provided to their customers.” “Imagine that” — writes Cowen — “a middleman buying and selling at different prices!” (Sept. 17). (More: see KrazyKiwi, Oct. 8).

Meanwhile, a Wisconsin man has filed an intended class action lawsuit against jam maker J.M. Smucker after the Washington-based anti-business group Center for Science in the Public Interest published a report claiming that Smucker’s “Simply 100 Percent Fruit” products were falsely labeled because only a minority of the actual contents of a jar of strawberry or blueberry “Spreadable Fruit” consisted of those berries, the remainder consisting (as Smucker’s labeling makes clear) of syrups, concentrates and extracts derived from other fruits such as apple, grape, lemon and pineapple. (“Smucker’s Spreads Not All Fruit, Lawsuit Says”, AP/FoxNews, Sept. 5 — if you’re looking for a deceptive claim, how about the one conveyed by that headline?). The food-industry-defense Center for Consumer Freedom levels an interesting accusation against CSPI, namely that bounty-hunting lawyers suing under California’s Proposition 65 law seemed to have mysterious psychic powers to divine in advance exactly what was going to be in a CSPI report on supposed killer french fries — either that, or CSPI shared the information with them before it went public with its allegations. See “We, the jury, find the defendant ‘starchy’”, CCF, Jul. 17 (third from last paragraph); “CSPI: 100 Percent Litigious”, CCF, Sept. 8; “Latest Acrylamide Panic Based on Fudged Numbers” (press release), CCF, Jul. 10. For more on the French fry suit, see Dec. 27-29, 2002.

{ 1 comment }

1 Wibble 10.09.03 at 5:55 am

Colour Me Bemused: Important Court Papers Enclosed

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