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Opinion
Megan McArdle

Pennies for Plaintiffs, Millions for Lawyers

Courts and legislators are beginning to wake up to the absurdity of high lawyer fees in mass torts.
High lawyer fees aren't written in ink. 
High lawyer fees aren't written in ink. 

Conservative activists have long complained about attorney's fees for mass torts, which often result in multimillion dollar payouts for the lawyers and trivial benefit to the alleged victims. In egregious cases, the legal fees can vastly exceed the amount paid to people who are actually harmed.

The argument in favor of small-dollar class actions is that without them, companies will feel free to inflict small harms on their customers. And to be sure, that's so. But the law is a sledgehammer, and there's a reason you shouldn't chase flies with a sledgehammer.