TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Recorded Call From Law Office?

Re: Recorded Call From Law Office?

Clark W. Griswold, Jr. (
Fri, 04 Nov 2005 07:51:09 -0700

Carl Moore <cmoore@ARL.ARMY.MIL> wrote:

> I did hear a complete number but did not write it down. (Just in case
> the record needs to be straightened out.)

Sounds like a troll for a class action lawsuit.

What you have to understand is that even the bottom feeders have
bottom feeders. Consider the following purely hypothetical situation:

A law firm (lets call them MBF, for Master Bottom Feeders),
specializes in class action lawsuits. You know -- the kind where they
collect millions of dollars for themselves and the claimants get a
coupon for a free hamburger.

MBF scours the medical journals and comes across a paper that suggests
that people who ingest too much dihydrogen monoxide die at a higher
rate that regular people.

MBF puts out the word to the thousands of LBFs (Local Bottom Feeders):
"Find us people who have ingested dihydrogen monoxide!" and offers a
referal bounty for every candidate that meets the criteria for the

Hence you get all the LBFs putting up billboards, running radio and TV
ads, and making mass telephone calls such as the one above.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: A very good point you raise is how
little the actual 'victims' get in class action lawsuits. Here is an
example involving a well known restaurant chain, McDonalds, in the
Chicago area.

First, some background: In Chicago, at least, maybe elsewhere, there
are McDonalds restaurants _everywhere_, every few blocks it seems. In
a couple instances, there are two on the same block (State/Dearborn
and Randolph Streets in Chicago). A McDonalds on one corner with a
Burger King right across the street, then a half block further west,
in the old Greyhound Station another McDonalds. Ditto on the north
side, State Street and Chicago Avenue. Burger King and McDonalds right
next door to each other, then a block east at Rush Street a McDonalds
and a Jack-in-the-Box. Second, all the McDonalds are independently
owned and operated, but a 'support group' run by the owner/operators
services them all for technical needs. The 'Chicagoland McDonalds
Operator's Association' runs a central warehouse for their supplies,
their foodstuffs, their cash register repairs, etc.

Next point: What is termed 'Chicago' has, in addition to Chicago
itself, a hundred plus smaller suburbs, and when you get out in the
western area, the suburbs are a few blocks apart, almost as frequent
as the McDonalds restaurants. Each of the suburbs has its own idea on
what 'sales tax' should be for ready to eat food, groceries, other
stuff. Since there are many McDonalds employees with only a simple
education, not including much arithmetic skills, McDonalds' cash
registers all have pictures and words on the keys. Customer wants the
double cheesebuger special, clerk presses the key with that on it;
the cash register calculates the total due, _includng the tax_ and
prints out the amount of money expected. Trouble is, the _sales tax_.
One Extra Value Meal in Chicago may cost two dollars, in Skokie it
may cost $1.98 or in Morton Grove $2.05.

When a cash register goes out of order, the manager calls to the
'central services' and orders a new, refurbished cash register. Later
that day a new register arrives, central services workers bring it in
and install it. Theoretically, cash registers from one taxing
jurisdiction are to stay in that jurisdiction. In actual practice,
they go anywhere. So you pay $2.00 for your Extra Value Meal today,
come in tomorrow for another of the same and $2.06 or whatever is
demanded instead. You can inquire all you like about the difference in
price between yesterday and today, or one register out of three or
four in the same restaurant, the clerk just looks at you with a blank
look on their face.

Anyway, about ten or twelve years ago, the McDonalds in Skokie, IL
(which is known not only as the second or third McDonalds in
existence, having been started orginally as a 'company location' when
it started in 1958) is one of the most ill-managed in the chain, wound
up being the defendant in a class action suit based on their poorly
programmed cash registers. (Walmart has the same situation; a cash
register used today in Illinois may be used next week [following its
repair, etc in Kansas or Oklahoma]; proper sales tax rate is of no
concern to those folks.) Plaintiff's class action lawyers said they
were frequently overcharged on taxes, and it is true that if you as a
shopkeeper make a claim that 'X amount of money is for taxes' when in
fact the tax is either (1) incorrectly stated or (2) does not exist
at all, a crime has been committed. The class action lawsuit went on
a couple years, the attornies raked in piles of money; it was finally
settled by McDonalds putting a newspaper ad in several Chicago-area
publications with a coupon to clip out, offering a free small size
drink to the holder of the coupon, to cure the problem of being
charged a couple pennies too much on tax. PAT]

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