Lawsuits: Don’t have a case? No problem. In the class-action racket, all you need is a deep-pocketed defendant and a scare campaign. Play the game right and you get a cool $200 million.
There’s still a buck or two to be made in America, even in the half-speed Obamaconomy. For lawyers adept at working the system of class-action litigation, 2012 has turned out to be a banner year.
Plaintiffs’ firms are expected to get about $150 million from a $2.43 billion settlement with Bank of America in September. And a Toyota Motor Corp. settlement this past week may bring in $200 million, plus expenses, to the lawyers involved, if approved by a federal judge.
The Toyota settlement is notable not just for the legal fees but also for the interesting fact that the plaintiffs didn’t have a case. The lawsuit — sparked by incidents of accelerators apparently sticking and sending cars hurtling into deadly crashes — alleged the accidents were caused by faulty electronic throttle controls.
But a federal probe concluded driver error was the cause most of the time, and that floor mats interfering with accelerator pedals were at fault in other cases.
So was the suit dropped? Of course not.