CALL FOR MORE CO-OBJECTORS
All freelance authors interested in this effort are invited to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for filing objections (or opting out) is July 15.
Below is an information statement by our excellent attorney, Charles Chalmers.
BY ATTORNEY CHARLES CHALMERS
I am 64 years old and have practiced law since 1971. I am a graduate of Stanford Law School. My career has been devoted to civil, primarily business, litigation. I was a partner of several law firms. The areas of law in which I practiced included contracts, business torts such as fraud, intellectual property (copyrights, patents, trade secrets and trademarks), securities and investments and anti-trust.
Several years ago I experienced firsthand class action abuse. This led me to become interested in the subject. I studied it, and began to look for opportunities to represent class members when settlements were being proposed. I have now participated in eight cases. In six of these my efforts produced favorable changes to the settlement or a reduction of the attorneys’ fees claimed by the class counsel (which are often paid out of the class compensation). In one of the two where I failed to achieve anything, I am still pursuing it, and recently filed a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court regarding that case.
Class action abuse is commonly thought of as excessive attorneys’ fees. While that is certainly a problem, my experience shows that an equal or greater problem is seriously inadequate settlements. Class action attorneys often sacrifice the class interests in order to obtain their compensation. While courts are supposed to provide protection against bad, or “sell-out,” settlements, they are generally too busy to do the investigation to discover the problems. And sometimes they don’t really want to “see” the problems, because the settlement is going to get a big, time consuming case off their docket.
Once I became involved in this work I discovered the existence of “professional objectors.” These are a group of lawyers who file objections to settlements, but their objections are usually superficial or boiler-plate, and their intention is simply to get paid-off to go away. And they often are paid off. These “professional objectors” have discredited the whole process of objecting. They have incurred the irritation of judges, and they have led to all objectors’ counsel being viewed with suspicion and distrust. I do everything I can to be sure that my work contradicts this view of objecting. Many higher courts have recognized that, when done diligently, objecting can help the courts charged with protecting the class members.
I try to do my work as thoroughly as when I represented companies which had the resources to properly protect their interests. I work alone and am often opposing large groups of plaintiff and defendant lawyers who join together to defend the settlement, so I generally can not equal their “fire power.” But I do my research and factual investigation as diligently as possible, so that a court will hopefully take my presentations seriously. When I feel the court has made a mistake, I am willing to take the matter on appeal.
Charles D. Chalmers
20 Sunnyside Ave., Ste. A#199
Mill Valley, CA 94941