Class actions are in a class by themselves when it comes to generating multimillion dollar fees for lawyers. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. But the $20 million settlement recently announced by plaintiffs’ lawyers behind the New Orleans levee breach lawsuit brings new light to this troubling trend.

Nearly 10 years after the class action litigation was filed, the lawyers and administrators will divvy up $7 million, while victims who lost their homes and businesses to flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will get less than $500 each.

In spite of trial lawyers’ claims that they “took a beating” on this case, it is obvious who is really benefiting here—and by and large it isn’t the people who got water in their homes.

This case is a stunning example of class action lawyers doing what they do best: using lawsuits to create the illusion of relief that will ultimately do nothing more than increase their own bottom lines.

Read more about the settlement here. Tell us what you think on Twitter @ReformLouisiana #JusticeorGreed.


Melissa Landry is executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, a non-partisan, non-profit citizen watchdog group dedicated to improving Louisiana’s legal system.