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An enterprising Wilmington attorney read how the Attorney General of New Jersey won a settlement from Sears for overcharging customers for wheel alignments and promptly brought his own class action lawsuit against Sears (The News and Observer, 7-23-07). And Sears promptly settled. The lawyer received $950,000 in fees. And Sears consumers received $2,402. (Not each, in all.)

When North Carolina Judge Ben Tennille read the settlement he was outraged. It “cannot help but to tarnish the public perception of the legal profession,” he said. “Doing the math in this case is easy… for each class member who received a $10 check or $4 coupon, plaintiffs’ counsel received just shy of $3,000.”

Undaunted, the enterprising lawyer, Gary Shipman, shot back, “Do you think Judge Tenille’s word is the Gospel?”

Follow the logic. First, Sears overcharges customers. Then the enterprising lawyer sues Sears and makes off with 99% of the money. Does anyone at the State Bar Association or the Academy of Trial Lawyers want to comment? Or suggest a solution?

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