Class Action Dilemmas: Pursuing Public Goals for Private Gain

By Deborah R. Hensler; Nicholas M. Pace et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Four
INTO THE FISHBOWL

That is why we have Rule 23. That's why lawyers can't just drop cases, settle cases, take payoffs. They have to go through a process. They have to send out notice, they have to make people aware of what they are doing, and they are subject to objections, to a hearing, to a judge's scrutiny, to a court awarding fees. It is a fishbowl litigation like no other in society.

Melvyn Weiss, a leading securities class action litigator,
testifying before the Civil Rules Advisory Committee,
November 22, 1996

In litigation, as in other life events, protagonists often have very different stories to tell about what happened and what was achieved. One person's trivial damages, pursued out of greed or plain orneriness, is another person's noble cause, requiring rectification and compensation. One person's satisfactory compromise is another person's excessive -- or inadequate -- remedy, given the facts and the law. One person's reasonable reward for a job well done is another person's outrageous extortion. Because most civil lawsuits are negotiated in private and settled between the parties without needing judicial consent, our ability to determine for ourselves the merits of these lawsuits and the justness of their settlements is highly constrained.

Class actions, however, are creatures of the court system. Without the judge's decision to certify a class, the representative plaintiffs and their attorneys cannot proceed on behalf of the class members. Without the judge's approval, a class action settlement cannot bind class members. Without the judge's award of fees, the class counsel cannot be paid. Although most class actions -- like most other civil lawsuits -- are not tried to verdict, class actions are litigated in a fishbowl.

But the decisionmakers who are called upon to assess the virtues and vices of class actions generally cannot peer into the fishbowl themselves. Instead, they rely on stories about what transpired -- what the plaintiffs alleged, what the defendants answered, what was gained, by whom, at what cost -- told by the protagonists and, often, by their political allies. Inevitably, these stories are colored by the storytellers' interests and perspectives. Moreover, most of the stories the

-137-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Class Action Dilemmas: Pursuing Public Goals for Private Gain
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 609

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.