Class Action Lawyers Get $850,000, Class Members Get Nothing

Plaintiff lawyers who filed a ridiculous class action lawsuit against three manufacturers of Bluetooth headsets will receive $850,000 under a settlement approved by a federal judge.  While the lawyers got their astronomical fees, guess what the members of the plaintiff class got?

NOTHING!

Despite numerous warning labels in the Bluetooth user manuals advising the consumer that listening to loud sounds can result in permanent hearing loss, the lawyers claimed that consumers might not be aware that extensive use of headsets at high volume could cause hearing loss.  Yeah, right.

A similar lawsuit was filed against Apple over their iPod headphones a couple of years ago, but there was a much more rational outcome in that case.  Even though Apple was forced to defend itself against that foolish lawsuit for more than three years, a federal appeals court eventually dismissed that dispute.  The opinion of the court was short, and their message was simple: if the music is too loud, turn it down!

Too bad this lawsuit against Bluetooth headset makers Motorola, Plantronics and GN (makers of Jabra devices), wasn’t filed in that court.

We’re grateful to Ted Frank for the “heads up” on this lawsuit, and for his decision to challenge this outrageous settlement.  Ted is the president of the Center for Class Action Fairness, and he stands up for the rights of consumers when judges need to be reminded of who ultimately pays for class action lawsuit abuse.  Actually, Ted does a lot more than remind judges about their responsibilities.  He takes the time to file legal briefs and, when needed, appeals settlements that leave consumers holding the bill without anything to show in return.

This case is notable because members of the class action didn’t even get the customary coupons that class members of lawsuits are often awarded.  All they got was more warning labels.

Yes, the judge ordered the product makers to create some more warning labels.  But let’s be fair, are you happy getting nothing more than labels that warn about the obvious while the lawyers get rich?  Of course not.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be using this lawsuit often to explain why there are so many obvious, common sense warning labels on products in America.  Soon, we will be releasing the winners of our 13th annual Wacky Warning Label Contest, and one of the warning labels was found on a Bluetooth headset.  Stay tuned!

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