Wage and Hour claims are, today, somewhat of a hot commodity in the legal process. These lawsuits were, to a large degree, trail blazed by an innovative attorney named Robert Bonsignore who sued retail giant Wal-Mart in a class action wage and hour claim, back in 2004. Bob’s expensive bet has paid off, as a federal judge has approved a final settlement in the case. 39 class actions involving 3 million employees have been settled for $65 to $85 million. 135 plaintiff attorneys were involved in the settlement and will share a one-third attorney fee, which could be close to $30 million. By settling for this huge amount, it is apparent that Wal-Mart was guilty of the conduct alleged in the complaint: That the retail giant failed to compensate plaintiffs for off-the-clock work and overtime, denied employees rest breaks and falsified employee time records. Judge Phillip M. Pro summed up the bravery and diligence of the attorneys involved this way (in approving the attorney fee award):
"The Court finds that Class Counsel have achieved an exceptionally favorable result for the members of the Settlement Classes by diligently pursuing this complex litigation for years despite the substantial risk of no recovery."
Despite the huge undertaking and financial risks of this enormous case, Bob Bonsignore and others persevered, invested their own time and resources, and achieved justice for their clients. This is a flashy, huge dollar, case. It is highly publicized. In America today, thousands of plaintiff attorneys do exactly what Bob did in this case. With less publicity and on a much smaller scale, thousands of brave attorneys assist millions of injured and/or disabled citizens. These brave attorneys handle these cases advancing their own money, often pursuing justice for years before obtaining a result. They charge no fee unless the case resolves successfully; if the case is unsuccessful, they not only receive no fee, but they usually have no method of recovering the money that they advanced on behalf of their clients.
Plaintiff attorneys, also known as trial lawyers, pursue justice, every day, in the hope that a positive result will be achieved for their clients. In contrast, a defense attorney represents corporate interests or insurance companies, receives his fees, hourly, from billion dollar companies. Personal injury litigation is truly a "David vs. Goliath" legal battle. Today, as was true in the bible story, David scored a big victory and justice was served. Lawsuit Financial, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company, congratulates Robert Bonsignore, all of his co-counsel, and all of the plaintiffs wronged by Wal-Mart. Hopefully, this billion dollar wrong-doing company has learned its lesson. If not, future litigation, by the best and brightest attorneys, risking their careers and their finances, will, hopefully, teach them another. After all, this is what plaintiff attorneys are all about.
Experienced attorney, lawsuit funding expert, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series. The series features super-trial lawyer Zachary Blake handling "ripped from the headlines" legal and political issues of the day. The series currently consists of Betrayal of Faith, Betrayal of Justice, Betrayal in Blue, Betrayal in Black, and Betrayal High, with a sixth Zachary Blake novel due out later this year. To learn more about these topical social justice legal thrillers. please visit markmbello.com. Mark is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.