In the state of contention, money and influence are equal to might, but sometimes the underdog manages to pull a fast one over the legal heavyweights. In this infographic we will investigate six cases where all faith seemed lost and the odds were stacked against them.
First off in the ring we have the plaintiffs- 6 states’ Attorney Generals versus the top six tobacco companies.The Attorney Generals filed suits under consumer protection and antitrust laws, seeking to cover smoking-related health care losses. Despite a lengthy process of appeals and shady deals, the plaintiffs won out. In 1998 this case was settled with the amount of $206 billion paid out over the span of 25 years.
Next up we have the Exxon Mobil Valdez Spill. The plaintiffs in this case are the 2,000 cannery workers, fishermen, natives, land owners, and others; with the defendant being Exxon Mobil. The 1989 oil spill contaminated 1,300 miles of Alaskan coastline with 11 million gallons of oil. The class action lawsuit sought punitive damages and interest for the thousands of people affected. Though $5 billion was initially awarded, Exxon Mobil appealed, and ended up paying 1/10 of that amount. This case as of 2001 is in judgement with only a $500 million amount.
We can’t forget about the AOL Time Warner case in which they were the defendant against the shareholder plaintiffs. Between 1998 and 2002, AOL Time Warner misreported numerous advertising transactions, giving the appearance that the company was actually generating revenue. In fact, the money was just being shifted around within the company. The misrepresentation valued the company by $1.7 billion more than its actual valuation. After the truth was revealed, stock prices took a dive. In 2005 this case was settled with a $2.5 billion amount.
In 1994 a case between thousands of North American women (plaintiffs) and Silicone implant manufactures (defendants) was settled for the amount of $3.4 billion. This lawsuit came from multiple claims from women suffering autoimmune diseases from worn out and leaking breast implants. After multiple years of litigation, the defendants finally settled out of court. It was the largest class action lawsuit of its time.
Unable to survive the internet bust, the fiber-optic company fabricated accounting entries and falsified trends in equipment sales. Discovery of this fraud sent the stock spiraling downward, from a high of $125 to $0.24, costing shareholders enormous sums. With this being said, the shareholders (plaintiffs) and the defendants, Nortel Networks, settled in 2006 with an amount of $2.4 billion.
Now, in 2011, still facing appeals are the 30,000 Nueva Ljo residents versus the Texaco and parent company, Chevron defendants. While disregarding standard procedure, the oil company dumped toxic water into the pits rather than re-injecting it back into the ground. This case is still in judgement and is facing appeals. So far, the amount on this case is $18 billion.
Not everything done in this world is right or just. However, when you’re least expecting it- justice is served. Not only just served, but dealt with by the underdogs. Don’t give up faith, stick it out and prove to the big dogs that you too have a voice.
Source: Best Paralegal Schools Online