The danger of talking to plaintiffs’ attorneys? The Nano class action

by Ted Frank on May 23, 2006

An education in how class actions start: Jason Tomczak says that he posted on his blog about the iPod Nano, and was contacted by plaintiffs’ lawyers seeking to bring a lawsuit against Apple. Tomczak says that he told the lawyers he wasn’t interested in suing, but, nevertheless, the law firms of Hagens Berman and David P. Meyer and Associates filed suit naming Tomczak as the lead plaintiff. Two days later, they realized their mistake, and sent Tomczak a proposed attorney-client retainer, which Tomczak refused to sign.

Meanwhile, worldwide publicity named Tomczak as lead plaintiff, subjecting him to ridicule. (Our Oct. 27 post mentioned only Hagens Berman.)

At some point, Tomczak hired lawyers and filed a lawsuit against the law firms; his lawyers don’t seem to have explained to him the repercussions of challenging the plaintiffs’ bar, however, and, after what he calls a harassing deposition, the law firms have filed counterclaims against Tomczak, seeking their fees for defending themselves. Jason Tomczak now asks to clear his name: are there reporters out there who want to cover this David v. Goliath story? (See also Milt Policzer, “Who Needs Plaintiffs”, Courthouse News undated).

{ 9 comments }

1 Nonsuited 05.23.06 at 7:31 pm

I rest my case. The deck is stacked against anyone who wants to see amoral/unethical/negligent/justplainstupid attorneys answer for their misdeeds.

2 JKoerner 05.23.06 at 8:40 pm

It sounds like Hagens Berman showed at a minimum gross negligence in filing official court documents. KNowingly doing so is definately a violation of the legal rules of ethics. The court should sanction them, and maybe a judge with a taste for justice will recommend that lawyer(s) be disbarred over this filing and the firm’s subsequent actions.

3 wavemaker 05.23.06 at 9:57 pm

It is almost impossible to read this story and believe that it is on the level.

Let it be that Hagens Berman follows in the steps of Milberg Weiss down the path of professional disgrace and ignominy.

4 Deoxy 05.24.06 at 10:25 am

Any legal filing should require the signature of the person it’s supposedly filed in the name of to be valid.

Unforunately, that is not the case, and this case is not the first (or likely the last) of its kind.

I had a friend who had a lawyer file in his name without permission. He personally went down to the courthouse and dropped the suit, since the lawyer wouldn’t. A year later, the defendent sued HIM for defamation; he lost, even though he hadn’t filed the suit, so he sued the lawyer who filed it, only to have that thrown out as after the statute of limitations. It was a complete screw-over, to the tune of over $50K.

5 AMH 05.24.06 at 10:45 am

Why sue the law firm? Better to have his own lawyers file a motion to have him dropped from the suit, and file an ethical complaint with the state bar.

6 Nonsuited 05.24.06 at 11:00 am

I have news for you, AMH. Filing a complaint on “ethics” with a State Bar is next to useless.

The Bar protects its own.

7 John W. Jay, Esq. 05.25.06 at 3:16 pm

I disagree with Nonsuited, the State Bar is actually very responsive these days. I strongly encourage anyone who has been harmed by an attorney’s misconduct to file a complaint with the State Bar.

8 Mike 05.25.06 at 7:31 pm

Deoxy: in what state did THAT happen? Statements made in legal filings can almost never be used as the basis for defamation. I think you may not have the whole story there.

9 wavemaker 05.25.06 at 9:56 pm

Musta made some comments to the court clerks while he was filing his voluntary dismissal.

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