A new video produced by Sick of Lawsuits, a tort reform group, suggests trial lawyers are abusing consumer protection laws to reap huge fees while their clients only receive coupons worth a few bucks.
The video, published July 20, starts by stating consumer protection laws are meant to protect consumers from harm then depicts a cartoon pig duped into buying a fraudulent weight loss substance.
“Sometimes products make promises they can’t keep or set out to trick and intentionally defraud consumers,” the video states. “In these situations, these laws protect us. But sometimes these lawsuits are more about cash for personal injury lawyers than consumer protection.”
According to Sick of Lawsuits, consumer protection laws have been widely abused and manipulated by personal injury lawyers for personal gain.
“Because many were written in general terms, profit-seeking personal injury lawyers have been able to take advantage of the language in businesses’ marketing and advertising materials to create frivolous lawsuits,” SOL says on its site.
“Personal injury lawyers don’t even have to prove that consumers were actually harmed in order to file a lawsuit. If a company chooses to settle the suit rather than pay the costs of defending itself, lawyers end up taking most of the settlement dollars, leaving consumers with coupons or other small forms of payment.”
Several examples of alleged bogus cases are listed on the site, including:
- Red Bull was sued for falsely claiming their product “gives you wings” and was forced to pay $10 to every person who bought the drink since 2002;
- Subway was sued because the bread for its “footlong” sandwiches occasionally measured 11.75 inches, even though each customer actually received the same amount of ingredients. Lawyers walked away with 99 percent of the settlement money;
- Chobani is being sued for the label on its “Greek Yogurt,” alleging that it is falsely advertising because the yogurt isn’t actually produced in Greece; and
- In 2010, numerous brands of olive oil were sued for not meeting requirements to be called “extra virgin.”
“As many of these laws don’t require proof of harm, personal injury lawyers are increasingly finding ways to create bogus lawsuits when no consumer is harmed,” the site states.
“Everyone has an obligation to identify and avoid these abusive lawsuits by not participating in them. When our system is abused, we all pay, and we all lose.”
SOL is an online project of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.