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NVIDIA class action settlement: Milberg declares war on its clients



If there was ever any question of whether Milberg was going to side with its putative clients or its putative adversary, we now have an answer from this Litigation Daily story ($):

Lead class counsel Jeff Westerman of Milberg said in a statement that Frank is "working against the interests of consumers who deserve to get their computers replaced."

"This settlement is providing class members with repairs and replacement computers, and thousands have already submitted claims," Westerman said in the statement. "When it comes to the replacement computers, we hired an independent expert who confirmed that we were adhering to the terms of the settlement. [Frank's] claims to the contrary reveal an anti-consumer agenda aimed at stopping the settlement from proceeding."

Three obvious points:

1. Millions of HP owners were subject to the settlement; "thousands have already submitted claims." Or, in other words, less than 1% of the class has submitted claims. And that's aside from the fact that "submitting a claim" doesn't indicate approval of the settlement administration, just an understanding that half a loaf is better than none. All of my clients have "submitted claims"; none are happy with the settlement.

2. In case it wasn't clear from my briefs, I fully support "consumers [getting] their computers replaced." One can readily look at my proposed order, and see that I am not trying to "stop[] the settlement from proceeding." There is already an existing court order for the settlement to proceed, and no one has moved to stay that order.

3. I've heard of spin, but it's remarkable that demanding that consumers get what their attorneys promised them in a class action settlement and notice is considered "an anti-consumer agenda." To review: it's the tort reform advocate who has filed papers with the court asking for consumers to get what they were promised; it's the trial lawyers who have announced their intent to file papers with the Court siding with the defendant and alleged wrongdoer insisting that the consumers--their clients--get less than what the Court has already ordered.

Leading tech blog Engadget caught wind of our motion:

Ted Frank of the Center for Class Action Fairness says that NVIDIA has no business passing off cheap laptops, and we think he might have a case -- after all, the judge ordered that NVIDIA provide "a replacement computer of like or similar kind and equal or similar value," and it doesn't take a lawyer to see that the $400 [sic] Compaq Presario CQ56-115DX that the company's offering doesn't come close to compensating owners of faulty machines. We joked that you might be better off selling your old laptop for parts on eBay, and that might not be far from the truth.

(The Center for Class Action Fairness is not affiliated with the Manhattan Institute.)

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.