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View Full Version : Poop Sometimes the law is really stupid


alnorth
02-13-2014, 04:32 PM
note: this should not be political. This is a generic "lawyers/class action lawsuits/the law is sometimes really dumb" rant.

This is complicated, but I think I can boil this down simply.

1) The city I live in (Des Moines) charged a franchise fee for gas and electric.

2) Apparently this fee was illegal

3) This stupid woman sued the city, and eventually won. The suit went to class-action status and the city was ordered to refund the illegal fee to everyone in the entire city.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/08/31/us/IOWA/IOWA-articleInline.jpg

4) The state immediately passed a law making this fee legal from now on, so the fee isn't going away.

5) The city does not have the roughly $40MM that they need to pay to refund the fee to residents, so taxes have to be temporarily raised to pay off the judgment.

Pausing here, it looks like a wash. Everyone gets a refund now, but eventually loses that refund through higher taxes, with some exceptions for people gaining by moving out now or losing by moving in now. Except its not a wash, because of the stupid lawyers:

6) Out of the roughly $40MM judgment, the class action lawyers are taking about $8MM of it.

So to recap, everyone will get a partial refund for the last few years of illegal fee they paid (which is now legal for the present onward), but they'll slowly lose that refund and then some due to the temporary taxes needed to pay for that refund they got. And, that refund is only partial because of the lawyers.

The residents don't win because on a net basis, we're all being taxed an extra $8MM for the class action attorneys who got us the refund that we have to give right back (unless we move out) because the city couldn't afford the refund.

Got all that? Sometimes the law is really stupid.

Simply Red
02-13-2014, 04:34 PM
I see her and immediately think - 'You Go Girl!'

Bowser
02-13-2014, 04:34 PM
But she got her point across, by God!

And what's the point in refunding the fee if the fee was immediately made legal by the state?

Big Smoke
02-13-2014, 04:34 PM
Stupid heffer.

GloryDayz
02-13-2014, 04:34 PM
All things being equal, even though it's a wash, I think the pain of the wash might make the city think twice before they do something stupid again and need another washing.

Like red-light cameras!

Dayze
02-13-2014, 04:35 PM
too litigious / Omaha

mcan
02-13-2014, 04:35 PM
Less regulation will fix it!

#rightwinglogic

alnorth
02-13-2014, 04:36 PM
But she got her point across, by God!

And what's the point in refunding the fee if the fee was immediately made legal by the state?

The fee that was paid from 2004 through 2009 is still illegal and has to be given back.

I only mentioned the fact that the state made the fee legal from 2010 onward because otherwise you might think "well at least they got rid of the fee, so you'll eventually come out ahead, right?"

Simply Red
02-13-2014, 04:39 PM
also (just an observation) - She should shy from the horizontal striped shirts, also get a shirt that fits, her beer belly is hanging out.

Fish
02-13-2014, 04:40 PM
Punch that dumb woman in the gunt.

Jimmya
02-13-2014, 06:11 PM
Always somebody willing to challenge the system.

HonestChieffan
02-13-2014, 06:19 PM
1) The lady was right. Thats the role of litigation. Right in that she won. Any lawyer will explain not guilty is not the same as innocent. She won. Thus right won. Alnorth declares her "stupid". Why is she stupid for challenging a wrong?

2) The entire state got fucked.

3) Fucked by her? no, by the scumbags we elect. We? yes We..the same shit will come to your front door. Don't assume Iowa is more dumb. They are really dumb but not that much mores than the rest of the country.

4) Lawyers on both sides got a payday.

Xanathol
02-13-2014, 06:22 PM
So why not vote out the people who turned right back and 'made the fee legal'? Seems clear that the people were being taken advantaged of by elected officials not following the law who are acting like royalty instead of in the interest of the people.

cosmo20002
02-13-2014, 06:23 PM
All things being equal, even though it's a wash, I think the pain of the wash might make the city think twice before they do something stupid again and need another washing.



In theory, its a deterrent to others (cities, companies, etc) to be bad in the future.

I know I've received checks for a few dollars from class action settlements that I didn't even know I was part of.

Rain Man
02-13-2014, 06:23 PM
There's some law in Colorado, and maybe everywhere, that people have to vote on a new tax. So the idiots in Adams County, Colorado, implemented a new "fee" that acts exactly like a tax. They promptly got sued and it'll end up costing everybody money to fix it.

Bearcat
02-13-2014, 06:29 PM
I don't follow politics much, so while reading stuff like this and Kansas' same sex thing and an article about ISPs being in the pockets of politicians all in the last ~24 hours isn't that shocking, my face is getting sore from all of the facepalms.

alnorth
02-13-2014, 06:32 PM
So why not vote out the people who turned right back and 'made the fee legal'? Seems clear that the people were being taken advantaged of by elected officials not following the law who are acting like royalty instead of in the interest of the people.

Since we have not, that pretty much means that we were fine with the fee, and it was being used to fund necessary city services. So no, we were not taken advantage of, some class-action lawyers looted us for $8MM, and the residents do not benefit, at all.

alnorth
02-13-2014, 06:35 PM
1) The lady was right. Thats the role of litigation. Right in that she won. Any lawyer will explain not guilty is not the same as innocent. She won. Thus right won. Alnorth declares her "stupid". Why is she stupid for challenging a wrong?

She's stupid because she'll ultimately lose money unless she moves out. She and everyone else will end up net losing money to feed her greedy lawyers.

I'm not against class-action lawsuits, but they do not make sense at all when a resident sues a city and the class is "everyone in the city", because "the city" = everyone in the city. It would be like Coca-Cola suing Coca-Cola, "winning", and paying itself the judgment minus the attorney's fee.

Big Smoke
02-13-2014, 06:43 PM
This is going to end up in DC...

afchief
02-13-2014, 06:50 PM
You should have sent a letter declining to be part of the class action lawsuit. Then you could sue the city yourself for raising taxes to pay for their illegal activities. No, this ain't going end good for you.

alnorth
02-13-2014, 06:55 PM
You should have sent a letter declining to be part of the class action lawsuit. Then you could sue the city yourself for raising taxes to pay for their illegal activities. No, this ain't going end good for you.

Oddly enough, the court also ruled that in this particular class action lawsuit, no one would be allowed to opt out.

Someone could choose not to get their refund, but that would be on them and wouldn't relieve them of the requirement to chip in their small part of the lawyer's $8MM "I want to buy a new sports car" fund.

Rain Man
02-13-2014, 07:00 PM
My impression is that there is a category of lawyer that hunts for wrongs so they can file class-action suits. They find a dupe to represent the plaintiffs, settle for pennies on the dollar, and charge exorbitant fees to handle it. They have no interest in the people that they represent. At least, this seems to happen a lot on stock prices.

No offense to good lawyers, of course. But these particular lawyers are kind of scummy.

KC Tattoo
02-13-2014, 07:01 PM
I wouldn't be mad at the lawyers, I'd be mad at myself for not educating myself to become a lawyer to make 8mm off of a stupid town or city.

GloryDayz
02-13-2014, 07:32 PM
In theory, its a deterrent to others (cities, companies, etc) to be bad in the future.

I know I've received checks for a few dollars from class action settlements that I didn't even know I was part of.

So we are in agreement?

threebag02
02-13-2014, 08:56 PM
Would Hawk lick reddi whip off her FUPA?

patteeu
02-13-2014, 09:39 PM
I'm not a fan of class action lawsuits and this does sound like it ends up with a stupid result (for everyone except the lawyers), but maybe the citizens of Des Moines and/or the state of Iowa should use their vote to prevent this tax increase or to punish those who made it necessary.

Just Passin' By
02-13-2014, 09:44 PM
Good for the woman. It's too bad the state fucked over the city residents in response. The good news is that state residents should be able to target the assholes who passed both the first, illegal, fee and the follow-up state law.

Of course, they won't, because MPAI.

Chazno
02-13-2014, 10:19 PM
Class action lawyers can make out pretty well when they win, but if they lose they usually get nothing. This lawsuit has been going on since 2004. The city repeatedly tries to get it overturned or thrownout (costing itself even more). I don't want to think how many billable hours the firm had tied up in this.

Baby Lee
02-13-2014, 10:42 PM
My impression is that there is a category of lawyer that hunts for wrongs so they can file class-action suits. They find a dupe to represent the plaintiffs, settle for pennies on the dollar, and charge exorbitant fees to handle it. They have no interest in the people that they represent. At least, this seems to happen a lot on stock prices.

No offense to good lawyers, of course. But these particular lawyers are kind of scummy.

I have serious issues with the compensation in class actions, but it still a contingency case, meaning until the money is in their pocket, they run the risk of doing all that work for free.

InChiefsHell
02-13-2014, 10:47 PM
If they would have done the right thing from the beginning, this never would have happened. Just sayin'...

GloryDayz
02-14-2014, 07:37 AM
If they would have done the right thing from the beginning, this never would have happened. Just sayin'...

:thumb:

R8RFAN
02-14-2014, 08:07 AM
Sunlight is the best disinfectant

BeMyValentine
02-14-2014, 08:22 AM
Sounds to me that it was illegal so you get your money back and it you don't like it going forward you could move and not pay it. Pretty simple really.

blaise
02-14-2014, 09:14 AM
Less regulation will fix it!

#rightwinglogic

Hey everyone, partisan politics! With a hashtag! Hooray!

alnorth
02-14-2014, 10:20 AM
Sounds to me that it was illegal so you get your money back and it you don't like it going forward you could move and not pay it. Pretty simple really.

That might work for a renter, but homeowners are kinda screwed.

This fee, tax, whatever you want to call it, illegal or not, has not been controversial at all, because that revenue was needed. Its not like a state or national budget that is so bloated you can probably find a lot of waste, the city budget is fairly tight and efficient.

There wasn't really any opposition to the fee, either the old one or the now-legal new one, the only anger out there is not at the fee, but at the people who were careless enough to enable the lawsuit to happen. The only people who are happy about the lawsuit are the lawyers who looted the city for no real societal gain.

GloryDayz
02-14-2014, 11:37 AM
That might work for a renter, but homeowners are kinda screwed.

This fee, tax, whatever you want to call it, illegal or not, has not been controversial at all, because that revenue was needed. Its not like a state or national budget that is so bloated you can probably find a lot of waste, the city budget is fairly tight and efficient.

There wasn't really any opposition to the fee, either the old one or the now-legal new one, the only anger out there is not at the fee, but at the people who were careless enough to enable the lawsuit to happen. The only people who are happy about the lawsuit are the lawyers who looted the city for no real societal gain.

I think it's a sign of the times. Many people, me included, are tired of "it all." Works cuts the budget, asks you to do more with less, your taxes (or fees) don't go down, your pay usually isn't going up, and you're getting less for the more you're raised taxes/fees are paying.

That's a very broad brush, but many folks are just tired of it. Especially because they're really not sure what all the tightening of the belt is going.

So what do you get, law suits.. Perhaps those dots aren't right next to each other, but I'll bet if most folks are honest with themselves, they'll admit that I'm right in more cases than I'm wrong.

Bugeater
02-14-2014, 11:45 AM
Sounds to me that it was illegal so you get your money back and it you don't like it going forward you could move and not pay it. Pretty simple really.
Yes, it is real simple for someone who owns a home and has a career in place and a family to pull up stakes and relocate somewhere else. Dumbfuck.

GloryDayz
02-14-2014, 12:08 PM
Yes, it is real simple for someone who owns a home and has a career in place and a family to pull up stakes and relocate somewhere else. Dumbfuck.

Look, here's a pic on Mr. BeMyValentine..... It prolly is easy for him as compared to many of us...

http://midgleywebpages.com/wagon_train.jpg

Dave Lane
02-14-2014, 12:31 PM
Weird. I guess kudos to her for catching it but wow silly deal.

patteeu
02-14-2014, 12:34 PM
That might work for a renter, but homeowners are kinda screwed.

This fee, tax, whatever you want to call it, illegal or not, has not been controversial at all, because that revenue was needed. Its not like a state or national budget that is so bloated you can probably find a lot of waste, the city budget is fairly tight and efficient.

There wasn't really any opposition to the fee, either the old one or the now-legal new one, the only anger out there is not at the fee, but at the people who were careless enough to enable the lawsuit to happen. The only people who are happy about the lawsuit are the lawyers who looted the city for no real societal gain.

If nothing else, it's a good lesson to people that we all pay for the mistakes of government.

GloryDayz
02-14-2014, 12:37 PM
If nothing else, it's a good lesson to people that we all pay for the mistakes of government.

We are a government of the people, by they people, and for the people. So we pay for our own mistakes. And certain people getting elected is a mistake, but the list people make in their minds right now is based on their political persuasion...

kepp
02-14-2014, 01:57 PM
Looks like she spent her settlement on pie.

BlackHelicopters
02-14-2014, 02:02 PM
Looks like she spent her settlement on pie.

LMAO

lostcause
02-14-2014, 02:02 PM
I lived in Des Moines from 2004-2007, how do I collect my money?

GloryDayz
02-14-2014, 02:26 PM
I lived in Des Moines from 2004-2007, how do I collect my money?

LMAO:thumb::D

Whore!