Lawyers Gone Wild, One More Indulgence

By September 14, 2007Briefly Legal

As part of its series, “Lawyers Gone Wild,” The Examiner publishes a list, “Rogues Gallery of Class Action Attorneys.” The list is based on comments collected from top attorneys about who specialize in filing big-time class action suits: “These are the trial lawyers who win the billion-dollar settlements, generate headlines in newspapers across the country and often become political powers unto themselves.”

Here’s the first entry in the gallery, a fine choice if we do say so:

Melvyn Weiss
The founding partner of Milberg Weiss is at the center of the federal prosecution of the firm bearing his name for an alleged kickback scheme designed to income for Weiss and other partners. Two former partners have since pleaded guilty, including Steven Schulman and David Bershad, with the latter described by federal authorities as having kept large amounts of cash in a safe in the firm’s office for use in the kickback scheme. Even so, Weiss has led the firm most closely associated with aggressive class action suits that have resulted in verdicts and settlements worth more than $1 billion against banking and insurance companies; $775 million in a single utility company securities case; and another $300 million in a healthcare securities suit. No wonder a recent Manhattan Institute report said Weiss has “never met a stock-price drop he didn’t like.”

Weiss has also personally funded political candidates and non-profit activist groups to help create a political climate beneficial to filing even more outrageous economy-sapping suits. But then, who on this list hasn’t?

UPDATE (9 a.m.): John Hood of the John Locke Institute weighs in on the series and notes the real costs on health care inflicted by the “tort tax”: “The main point to remember is that reformers recognize the value of an accessible legal recourse for those truly injured by reckless or negligent action. You can have that without opening the door to extortion-by-litigation.”

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