Court Called Judicial Hellhole; Defenders Blast Complaints

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

Kirk Johnson

The Miller County Circuit Court landed on the American Tort Reform Foundation’s “Judicial Hellholes Watch List” in 2006. One of the cases the foundation cited was a $90 million settlement in 2006 between Google Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., and advertisers who said the Internet search company improperly billed them for “clicks” that didn’t lead to customers seeking their services, according to a July 2006 Associated Press article.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys, led by Goodson, received $30 million while the plaintiffs received coupons toward future advertising, the Judicial Hellholes report said.

In most cases in Miller County, it is unclear what the actual plaintiffs settled for because settlements are sealed.

“The plaintiffs’ lawyers are too embarrassed to say what it is,” said Frank, of the Center for Class Action Fairness. “And from that you can infer it’s very, very little.”

He also said there’s no incentive to make it easy for customers to file claims to receive the settlement in a class-action case.

“The defendants don’t care who gets the money; they just want to get out of the case,” Frank said. “And the attorneys are trying to maximize their fees, so everybody loses except for the lawyers.” n



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