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!

The Top Ten Wackiest Warning Labels Of All Time

Tractor Warning Label

Tractor Warning Label

During the 13 years we have held the annual Wacky Warning Label Contest, people from all over America have sent us some of the most outrageously obvious warnings you could imagine.

Of course, we always enjoy the humor these labels provide, but we particularly appreciate all the opportunities they give us to reveal the lawsuit problems in American that have made such labels necessary and to engage the public in a conversation about what needs to be done to fix the system.

Ted Frank’s excellent op-ed article for AOL News today once again puts the spotlight on our Wacky Warning Label Contest and raises some new issues involving class action lawsuits that you’ll want to read.  Ted is an attorney and the president and founder of The Center For Class Action Fairness.

We always get a lot of email when our contest is featured on a major website like this, and one of the most common questions we get is: “What are the wackiest warning labels you’ve seen over the years?”

It’s about time we answered that question.   So in descending rank, with number one being the wackiest warning label of all time, here is my list for the Ten Wackiest Warning Labels Ever:

10. A warning on a wood router says:  “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.”

9. A five-inch brass fishing lure with a three-pronged hook on the end cautions: “Harmful if swallowed.”

8. A letter opener carries this warning,  “Caution: Safety goggles recommended.”

7. A vanishing fabric marker warns: “The Vanishing Fabric Marker should not be used as a writing instrument for signing checks or any legal documents.”

6. A bag of livestock castration rings warns,  “For animal use only.”

5. A label on a washing machine warns, “Do not put any person in this washer.”

4. A label on a small tractor cautions:  “Danger!  Avoid Death.”

3. A portable toilet seat called the “Off-Road Commode” that attaches to a vehicle’s trailer hitch warns: “Not for use when vehicle is in motion.”

2. A popular scooter used by children throughout the United States warns: “This product moves when used.”

And, my all-time favorite…

1. A label on baby stroller warns: “Remove child before folding.”

For more information about the Wacky Warning Label Contest sponsored by the Foundation for Fair Civil Justice, click here: