As you know, a complaint is the document that starts a civil lawsuit. The pleading standard for a complaint is that it must be a “short, plain statement” of the case that is sufficient to give the defendant notice of what is at stake in the lawsuit. Read the assignment below for a summary of the facts and allegations in the case, and then use the complaint form to create a complaint to be filed in the Circuit Court for Tuscaloosa County. You can also refer to the sample complaint for a general idea of what a complaint should look like.
When we talked about arbitration this week, one of the issues we looked at was the ability of corporations to use arbitration agreements and class-action waivers to essentially eliminate class action lawsuits. Class actions can be essential for customers who have been cheated out of small amounts of money: in cases like Conception v AT&T, where there was an allegedly fraudulent $30 fee, what lawyer would take a case for a $30 judgment? Only by joining together the thousands of AT&T customers who were charged the fee and sharing the legal expenses, would a lawsuit make economic sense. Following AT&T’s lead, Sony has changed the terms of service for its Playstation network to prevent its customers from filing class action lawsuits, such as the ones filed after last year’s massive data breach.
Class actions don’t always benefit customers, however. One class-action lawsuit against VW proposed giving $8 million in repairs to some customers and paying the attorneys $23 million–all while requiring many class members to give up their right to sue VW in exchange for . . . nothing. The settlement is currently being appealed.
For class members, there is another option: to opt out of litigation. Heather Peters purchased a 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid that Honda claimed got 50mpg. In actual use, it never even came close to that, and after a software update, got around 30mpg. A class action lawsuit was filed, and the proposed settlement would pay Honda owners about $100 each in damages and pay the attorneys $8.5 million. Ms. Peters opted out of the class action and sued Honda in small claims court instead. This week, a judge in that case awarded her $9,687. Ms. Peters has a website where she encourages others to opt out of the class action and provides copies of all the documents she filed in her case. The full 25-page court opinion ruling in favor of Ms. Peters is also available. Results will vary from state to state: in California, the maximum award available in small claims court was recently raised to $10,000; here in Alabama the limit is $3,000.
Crown prosecutor John Ramsay offered the court his rhymes. (QMI Agency file photo)
OTTAWA – A prosecutor’s poetry convicted a drunk driver Thursday.
Joey Anderson, 25, was found guilty of impaired driving after he rolled his car on the highway early July 16, 2010.
Anderson blew about twice the legal limit in breath samples taken at hospital later.
In the courtroom, evidence was heard, applications were seen.
But the highlight was Crown prosecutor John Ramsay’s closing submission:
On July 16, 2010
Crashed his car, did Mr. Anderson
Without second thought, two citizens did stop
And called 911 for fire and cops
At 0220 Blanchette did arrive
To see if the lone occupant did survive
And peeking his head through (the) windshield did hear
Mr. Anderson’s claim of “only drinking 15 beer”
From beginning to end no can say
That police sat idle or created delay
As medics did work, the police withdrew
In consideration this was not just a flu
Beers at a cottage, 15 did he drink
And proceed to drive, rather than think
A marked departure from the reasonable driver
Mr. Anderson is fortunate he’s a survivor
Reasonableness of their acts does exude
The samples of breath, You ought not exclude
His rights were respected by all those involved
This poem’s near over, this crime is solved
And all that is based on a finding of Breach
The existence of which the Crown doth impeach
After 2 days of trial Your Honour will see
The only verdict is one of guilty
The prosecutor later apologized for the rhymed closing. Is there anything unethical about the way he chose to sum up his case?