An organization pushing for reforms in the way lawsuits involving large numbers of people are handled is meeting with business leaders in the state today. Peter Kinzler, of the U-S Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, says companies have worked the system so ordinary citizens involved in a “class action” lawsuit usually end of with almost nothing.He says the companies work out a big settlement in which the plaintiff’s lawyers get big money, and the plaintiffs often end up with coupons. He cites the case of Blockbuster movie rentals where lawyers got over nine million dollars, and the people who sued got two free movie rentals and one dollar off coupon. Kinzler is pushing a new law that he says would help both sides. Kinzler says the new law would change the 75-thousand dollar limit that keeps most class action cases in local courts. If the case is of national importance with at least 100 people, then the case could go to federal court, what he calls a fairer forum. Kinzler says the law would also require lawyers to present plaintiffs with easy to understand information on what they’d get in a settlement. It also bans settlements that end up costing the people who file the lawsuit.
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