In a world of billion dollar corporate bailouts, it sometimes seems like there’s not much justice for the little guy. Big corporations have big budgets, meaning they can afford to hire multiple lawyers and drag out proceedings for years. But every once in a while, a corporation simply goes too far. As a personal injury attorney, I fight for the little guy against greedy corporations on a daily basis. Read about these five landmark lawsuits when David beat Goliath, and justice was served.
Photo by Greg Foster
Vibram Running Shoes
Earlier this year, Vibram agreed to pay $3.75 million for embellishing the health benefits of the shoes that they produced. Known for their “FiveFingers” running shoes that look like gloves for your feet, Vibram told consumers that their “toe shoes” could help strengthen foot muscles and reduce running injuries. But as more evidence proved that running in these shoes caused puncture wounds and increased stress, the company was forced to redact their advertising statements and pony up to consumers. The $3.75 million settlement offered purchasers roughly $20-$50 per pair of shoes bought, which can pay for less than half of a nice pair of running shoes customers will need after throwing these ones in the trash.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)
Photo by Dave
The name of the company might not be familiar, but you probably know something about the case. Erin Brokovich, who would be played by Julia Roberts in the film adaptation, served as lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against PG&E. The major allegation in the case was that the company knowingly allowed hazardous waste products to contaminate the groundwater–jeopardizing the water supply of Hinkley, California. This waste was found to cause cancer, fertility problems and a list of other health issues.
This case resulted in the largest settlement ever paid out for a direct action lawsuit in the history of the United States. PG&E was forced to pay nearly $300 million to just 1,100 people.
Erin Brokovich isn’t the only class action lawsuit hero to become a major motion picture star. The 2005 movie North Country stars Charlize Theron as Lois Jenson, one of the first female employees of the Eveleth iron mine in northern Minnesota. Jenson and her female coworkers endured such intense sexual harassment from the men they worked with, that some of them were diagnosed with PTSD. The problem was, Jenson had a hard time finding anyone to represent her. After being turned down by more than 50 lawyers from 1984 to 1991, Jenson finally got the case accepted as the first class action lawsuit related to sexual harassment. The problems didn’t end there, though. The court proceedings were almost as abusive as the harassment to begin with. The judge allowed Eveleth to obtain medical records and put the women through eighty days of depositions, probing their personal and sexual histories. One plaintiff said afterwards that “I felt I was raped on the stand.”
In the end, the women had to wait until 1998 before Eveleth settled with them on the eve of the jury trial. The women of Eveleth mines were awarded $3.5 million for their troubles.
Photo by MoneyBlogNewz
In the 2007, Facebook stepped over the line into privacy invasion. The social media giant launched a new advertising program called Beacon, which distributed purchasing information between partner retailers and Facebook. This meant purchases you make could end up being published on your social network profile. The program went mainly unnoticed until a man purchased an engagement ring from Overstock.com. His plan was to surprise his girlfriend with a proposal, but the purchase was immediately published on his newsfeed–and quickly seen by friends, family and his girlfriend.
Once Beacon was uncovered, Facebook users soon retaliated with a class action lawsuit. Facebook settled the case in 2009, agreeing to discontinue Beacon and use $9.5 million to establish a foundation dedicated to privacy.
Another lawsuit turned feature film, A Class Action, depicts the legal battle between the citizens of Woburn, Massachusetts and W.R. Grace & Co, owners of the Cryovac food packaging plant. The central complaint of Woburn’s lawsuit was that the company contaminated the city’s water supply with dangerous carcinogens, resulting in at least six deaths from leukemia. The case, which began in 1982, went on for four years until W.R. Grace & Co. settled out of court for $8 million.
These big cases stand out on the silver screen, but average Americans are winning smaller settlements such as these every day. If you’ve suffered personal injury or loss due to a corporation’s negligence or unsafe practices, you can win your lawsuit. Let me represent you and get you the compensation you deserve. For more information, give me a call at (702) 522-7707 today.
Featured image by JessicaGale
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