The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and the National Association of Consumer Advocates filed an amicus or friend of the Court brief before Illinois’s First District Appellate Court in an appeal in a consumer fraud and breach of contract class action DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle is prosecuting. The brief explains why the right to pursue class actions is so important to consumers who cannot afford an attorney to correct small frauds or unfair practices which can result in Defendants reaping large gains. The brief states:
Another significant statement that appears in the defendant’s brief is the following:
“If the Circuit Court ruling is reversed, it is highly likely this case will be settled, given the low dollar value of Plaintiff’s individual claim for damages and the fact that the Plaintiff has no evidence that any other Advance customer allegedly also misunderstood the Governement Required Processing Fee. …
As to the statement that if the class certification decision is reversed, it is highly likely the case will be settled, given the low dollar value of the plaintiff’s individual claim. This is precisely why this claim needs to proceed as a class action.
As pointed out by Judge Posner, a defendant who resists a class action by stating that there are a multitude of class members makes no argument at all. “The more claimants there are, the more likely a class action is to yield substantial economies in litigation. It would hardly be an improvement to have in lieu of this single class action, 17 million suits, each seeking damages of $15 to $30 . . . The realistic alternative to a class action is not 17 million individual suits, but zero individual suits, as only a lunatic or a fanatic sues for $30. But a class action has to be unwieldy indeed before it can be pronounced an inferior alternative – no matter how massive the fraud or other wrongdoing that will go unpunished if class treatment is denied – to no litigation at all.” Carnegie v. Household International Inc., 376 F.3d 656, 661 (7th Cir. 2004) (emphasis in original).
The courts developed the class action device to handle cases like this one. “The policy at the very core of the class action mechanism is to overcome the problem that small recoveries do not provide the incentive for any individual to bring a solo action prosecuting his or her rights. A class action solves this problem by aggregating the relatively paltry potential recoveries into something worth someone’s (usually an attorney’s) labor.” Amchem Products, Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 617 (1997) (quoting Mace v. Van Ru Credit Corp., 109 F.3d 338, 344 (7th Cir. 1997).
The Defendant has tipped its hand in its statement that the case will settle if the court reverses class certification. This is because if the court reverses class certification the defendant will pay off the Plaintiff by refunding the small sum of money it managed to take from it …
To review the full brief click here
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