Class actions and the cost of cars

by Walter Olson on October 8, 2003

Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News, like Alex Tabarrok before him (see Sept. 19), is far from pleased with the results of the class action on behalf of otherwise uninjured owners of recalled Firestone tires; he follows up with a second column which gives details of another class action, this time against Nissan over a printed error on car leases (“Firestone, lawsuits and cost of inflation”, Oct. 4; “Isn’t it time to raise the bar for lawyers?”, Oct. 7). And across town at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, J.R. Labbe discusses the recent case (see Oct. 4) in which Philip Morris agreed to pay $2 million to a mother who by her own account left a child and a lit cigarette unattended in a car contrary to Texas law. “The public may never know why the company chose to settle this case, but you can be sure it will open the door for additional claimants looking to blame someone for their own irresponsible actions.” (“Somebody has to pay”, Oct. 5). (Corrected May 1, 2004 to remove erroneous implication that tire owners were receiving financial compensation in the class action).