Week Adjourned: 1.15.10

Delta giving new meaning to baggage claim?Top Class Actions

New meaning to Baggage Claim? Delta Airlines and AirTran Airways got hit with a class action lawsuit this week, for nickel and diming passengers on baggage fees. You know—the extra money you have to pay to check your luggage that contains all the stuff you can no longer take on board in your carry-on luggage…

Bottom line—the suit alleges price fixing by the two airlines. “The suit accuses the two carriers of colluding to charge fliers a $15 first checked baggage fee. The complaint claims the two carriers agreed to charge the baggage fee in highly competitive markets because neither could risk losing business by charging the fee on their own.”

Given that there are tens of thousands of us who fly across the US every day—I think the potential class of plaintiffs submitting a claim could be huge on this one—makes you wonder if you’d actually get $15 back, which is what the lawsuit is seeking… 

Sterling Performance? Employees at Sterling Savings Bank, a Spokane, Washington-based institution, got wise to their employers and filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that the bank and its holding company, Sterling Financial Corporation failed to protect their investment in company stock through the company’s 401(k) Plan.

How did they do this, you ask? By failing to properly manage their pension funds, by investing in imprudent investments such as commercial real estate, construction and land loans, and through improper accounting and inadequate capitalization. Does any of this sound familiar? It sounds woefully so, to me. While I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked given the recent global financial debacle, it still makes me sad. 

Top Settlements

At last, families of this infamous nightclub fire are going to get some closure.

A settlement of $176 million has been approved by a federal judge, ending a lengthy lawsuit stemming from the 2003 fire at the Station Night Club in Rhode Island. The fire killed 100 people.

According to media reports, a trust fund will be set up to hold funds for more than 300 people affected by the fire. Some of the settlement monies will be distributed among survivors of the fire who were severely injured, and the many children who lost their parents in the fire—can you imagine losing your parents in a nightclub fire?

The settlement was reached prior to going to trial because the defendants, namely the club’s owners, foam manufacturers, Anheuser-Busch, Clear Channel Broadcasting and the town of West Warwick, wanted to avoid going to trial. No kidding.  

Note: The luggage tags above are available at Uncommon Goods (except that last one).

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