Class action lawsuits promise the plaintiffs’ bar opportunities for the recovery of excessive attorney fee rewards. Indeed, the potential to recover millions of dollars in fees has been cited as the primary cause for the abuse of the class action device. Because the majority of class action lawsuits settle, class counsel are routinely criticized due to the gross disparity between the nominal amount (if any) each class member receives and the amount of the attorney fees recovered. This is especially true where the substantive nature of the class action is viewed as frivolous and the relief sought is de minimis. The prospect of excessive attorney fee awards has created a number of ethical issues surrounding the propriety of methods to solicit class action plaintiffs.
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