Gallery 2
Con Artists At Law
Gallery 2 - Page 3
Gallery 2-Page 2

A New Legal Scam - Class Action Lawsuits We Can’t Escape

By James Donahue

How can such a thing happen?

A few months ago I received a very legal looking notice in my mail from an office identifying itself as A. B. Data, LTD, Class Action Administration, of Milwaukee that stated I was involved in a class action litigation against a Japanese firm that makes and sells solar panels.

Not having heard of such a business, and knowing that I would have no reason to participate in such a law suit, I might have dismissed such a notice except for one strange thing. Somewhere deep in the fine print was found a warning that failure to file a request for exclusion would make me partially liable for any debt incurred during the court proceedings if the court ruled against the plaintiffs.

While I considered it a complete violation of my time to be bothered by such a thing, I listened to my wife’s words of wisdom and took time to write a letter notifying the lawyers for A. B. Data that I was not interested in participating in the case and that I wanted to be excluded.

 I thought that would be the end of it. But this was not to be the case.

A few weeks later I received another legal notice from A. B. Data stating that my request for exclusion from the case “did NOT meet one or more of the requirements for an effective exclusion as listed on Page 2 of the Notice of Pendency of Class Action.” Apparently I had not used my magnifying glass to read that portion of all of the fine print.

The letter then quoted from “Page 2” as follows:

“In order to be valid, any request for exclusion must set forth the name and address of the person or entity requisition exclusion, must specify the number and type of LDK securities purchased and sold during the class period and the dates of such purchases and sales. The request must also state that such person or entity ‘requests exclusion from the Cass in the LDK Securities Litigation,’ and must be signed by such person or entity.”

I was then notified that I have until a certain deadline to submit all of the necessary information before my name can be removed from the list of plaintiffs in the case. This placed me in an impossible situation.

I did some research on line and learned that A. B. Data is a U. S. based law firm that specializes in the complexities of international class action litigation cases. Apparently the plaintiffs in this case are people who purchased shares of stock in LDK Solar Co. Ltd., or “sold put options for LDK American Depository Shares during a period of June 1 to Oct. 7, 2007.”

Attempts to glean more information by raising a PDF File on A.B. Data were unsuccessful so I was unable to learn why this law firm believes the buyers of this particular firm’s stock have suffered damage. Since I did not buy such stock, or attempt to sell it, I am left completely in the dark about this strange case and why I somehow became involved..

LDK Solar is a Chinese based company apparently involved in the manufacture and sale of solar energy products that began buying and selling shares of company stock on the American market in 2007.

Since we were never involved in the sale or purchase of LDK Solar stock, under the rules established by this law firm, it is impossible for me to escape this class action law suit. It is required that I must specify the number and type of LDK securities purchased and sold during a specific period that occurred some four years ago.

But wait. This is not the only class action lawsuit I seem to have become involved in. Since that first notice arrived my wife and I have been finding similar little notices in our mail box claiming our involvement in numerous other class action cases against a variety of other firms we have never heard of. All of them come on post card sized paper with print so small it cannot be read by the naked eye. All demand action to be excluded from these cases.

The only class action case in the lot of them that we felt we might have had some connection to is a case against Costco, a major retail chain of stores, concerning the purchase of gasoline from tanks that may not have been kept properly cooled, thus expanding the fuel and hiking the price paid at the pump. Costco denies any wrongdoing.

This letter, like the A. B. Data letter, states that I will be “bound by the settlement and class judgment” unless I ask to be excluded from this case. And to be excluded, I was to send a letter that includes “proof of gasoline purchase from Costco after January 1, 2001, until April 22, 2009.” This letter was to be mailed to Settlement Administrator, in Birmingham, Alabama, by February 22, 2010.

While my wife and I possess a Costco card and have visited stores in some of the states included in this litigation, there is no way that we can show proof of any gasoline purchases. Who keeps such receipts?

Recently I have noticed that our television screen is filled with notices of class action law suits by various law firms against a wide variety of medical and pharmaceutical companies for injuries incurred by the medications prescribed, for hip and joint replacements and for other injuries, some causing death. One favorite target involves asbestos exposure.

It appears that we have some hungry lawyers turning to a clever new type of scam operation. We question how lawyers and the courts have the power to scoop up large numbers of unknowing and perhaps unwilling participants in class action court cases, make it almost impossible to wiggle out of these cases, and threaten to force payment for unsolicited services if the cases are lost.

If a bill collector knocks on my door on behalf of A. B. Data I will let you know how that turns out. I have no intention of getting scammed.