Class Action Dilemmas: Pursuing Public Goals for Private Gain

By Deborah R. Hensler; Nicholas M. Pace et al. | Go to book overview
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Date by which defendants were to have issued checks or
credits to Group 1 and Group 2 class members
February 15, 1997
Cutoff for Group 3 claim forms to be received by
defendants
July 7, 1997
Date by which defendants were to have filed a verified
written report pursuant to the agreement
August 15, 1997

NOTES
1
As part of our research on this litigation, we interviewed a plaintiffs' attorney, attorneys for the defendants, staff members of the Texas Department of Insurance, and representatives of a consumer interest group. We were unable to speak to the judge in this case prior to publication. We also reviewed the pleadings and papers filed in the case as well as other documents including newspaper and magazine articles, correspondence, press releases, and internet web site postings.
2
Martinez v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 95-08-09169-CV (Tex. Dist. Ct. Zavala County filed Aug. 28, 1995).
3
Sendejo v. Texas Farmers Insurance Co., No. 95-08-09165-CV (Tex. Dist. Ct. Zavala County filed Aug. 30, 1995).
4
John MacCormack, "Suits Attack Auto Insurance Rounding Practice", San Antonio Express-News, Apr. 2, 1996, at 8B; Max Boot, "A Texas-Sized Class Action Fraud", Wall Street Journal, May 22, 1996, at A23.
5
"Personal Injury: For a Texas Lawyer, Misfortune's Big Bucks May Take a Big Dive", Wall Street Journal, Oct. 3, 1995, at A1; Homer Jones, "Lawsuits, Texas Style", Texas Business, Oct. 1996, at 46.
6
Defendants characterized the association as "a concerted entrepreneurial scheme between [Cracken], [Powers], and others to manufacture a 'regulatory' class action lawsuit against insurance companies." Brief of Appellant Allstate ( Aug. 22, 1996) at 4, Martinez.
7
A similar desire during the 1960s and 1970s to reduce the number of characters needed in mainframe computer processing (when data storage space was relatively expensive) has now led to the so-called Year 2000 Millennium Bug. See, e.g., May Lucy, "Millennium Bug Zeroes In on Computers", Cincinnati Enquirer, Dec. 23, 1996, available on the internet at http://Enquirer.com/ Editions/ 1996/12/23/loc-computer2000.html.
8
Plaintiffs' Seventh Amended Original Petition and Formal DTPA Notice and Demand ( June 28, 1996) at 5-6, Martinez (hereinafter Plaintiffs' 7th Amended Petition).
9
Prior to the 1970s, the rule in Texas was to round down when the remainder was $.50.
10
"Allstate Disputes Bilking Claims", El Pason Times, Apr. 4, 1996.
11
Consolidated Brief in Support of Class Counsel's Application for (1) Attorney's Fee and (2) Reimbursement for Certain Out-Of-Pocket Expenses ( Dec. 6, 1996) at 4, Nos. 95-08-09169-CV, 95- 08-09165-CV (hereinafter Brief for Fee and Expenses; unless otherwise noted future references to court documents pertain to joint filings for the Martinez and Sendejo cases).
12
Class Counsel's Application for (1) Attorney's Fee and (2) Reimbursement for Certain Out-Of- Pocket Expenses ( Dec. 3, 1996) at 8 (hereinafter Application for Fee and Expenses).
13
Brief of Appellant Allstate at 9-10; Jones, supra note 5.
14
Zavala County's population of about 12,200 yields a density of 9.4 inhabitants per square mile compared to the overall rate for Texas of 64.9. U.S. Census Bureau, Land Area, Population, and Density for States and Counties: 1990, available on the internet at the U.S. Census Bureau home page, http://www.census.gov/population/censusdata/90den_stco.txt ( Feb. 20,1998).
15
Based on the 1990 Census, 50.4 percent of Zavala County citizens live at or under the poverty level, a rate met or exceeded by only two others of the 254 counties in Texas. U.S. Census Bureau, County Income and Poverty Estimates, 1990 Census Estimates: Texas 1989, available on the internet at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/saipe/90data/tab48_89.html ( Feb. 20,1998).

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