Fairness hearings: an important protection, but a plaintiff’s attorneys nightmare!

Nutella is desert-like-topping with cult following.  It tastes good, I suppose, but I’ve met people out there that REALLY like it.  Whatever the case may be, Nutella was sued because their marketing was deceptive in that it promoted the product as healthful.  One of the primary objectives obtained in the case was injunctive in nature -  a change in labels and marketing by the manufacturer.  That kind of relief doesn’t translate into money for the Nutella purchasers, and its arguable that this class isn’t a good candidate for any monetary relief because its hard to prove that any one member of the class relied on the allegedly representations of healthfulness.  In fact, most of the people that I know love it will admit its a guilty pleasure.  I don’t agree with this argument – but the defendants surely raised it.  Nevertheless, Plaintiff’s counsel managed to put some money in their pockets of the class.

Only problem is that the amount being paid to the class is less than the legal fees.

So class members are exercising their right to object.  I sympathise with the attorneys in this case.  However, the class action mechanism lends itself to abuse and class member’s right to object at a fairness hearing is a crucial protection.  In fact, the threat of objections is a force that pushes settlements higher.

One thing there should be no tolerance for sorry puns and corny jokes in the law journal.  For example, the article reporting the settlement reads:

A proposed settlement of a class action suit against makers of the chocolate hazelnut spread Nutella isn’t melting in the mouths of some of its intended beneficiaries.

So lame.

Objections Slathered on Thick to Nutella Class Action Settlement.

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