One of the things that struck a chord with attendees of our recent legal reform conference was our discussion of class actions that are filed in the wake of government enforcement actions. Under these circumstances, companies end up taking a double hit – first from government regulators, and then from plaintiffs’ attorneys acting under the cloak of consumer protection. Hastily filed consumer class actions can compromise the government’s ability to effectively regulate, and often provide only marginal additional benefits to consumers, yet they are increasingly common. In just the past few days, news broke that two such cases have been filed in New Jersey shortly after high-profile government enforcement actions were announced.
Litigation Mounting Over Volkswagen Emissions Scandal
Charles Toutant | New Jersey Law Journal
Volkswagen has been hit with at least 16 putative class actions around the country in the wake of the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement that the company programmed software in cars with diesel engines to evade clean air standards.
Whole Foods Accused Of Not Displaying Price Info Correctly
Martin Bricketto | Law360
Whole Foods Market Group Inc. has been hit with a putative class action in New Jersey state court claiming the high-end grocery chain failed to include proper price information with certain items in violation of a state consumer protection statute.
It’s time we take a closer look at the interplay between government enforcement and class actions so we can know for sure that wrong-doers are being properly punished, and our suspicion toward those being targeted by the government is not being exploited to benefit private attorneys more than the general public.
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