Monday, February 2, 2009

Papadakis v. Northwestern Mutual Life

Objections of Robert & ______ Shattuck in Papadakis v.The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Our names, addresses and telephone numbers are Robert and ______ Shattuck, 3812 Spring Valley Circle, Birmingham, AL 35223, (205) 967-5586. We do not have an attorney. All or some of the policy numbers are: _______________________. Our objections are stated below. We do not intend to appear in the Final Settlement Hearing.

Statement of objections and reasons

In exercising its discretion as to approval of the settlement and attorney fees, the court is obligated under the law to be reasonable and not to approve something that has no reasonableness.

Reasonableness is properly determined with reference to a standard based on social utility and cost benefit principles. If there is little or no social utility of the litigation or if it has disutility, attorney fees that are approved should not greatly exceed the social utility. Social utility is not subject to hard and fast quantification, and a subjective evaluation and weighing of factors and considerations is unavoidable.

The basic question is what is the social utility of this litigation and how does that compare to the cost of the litigation in terms of legal fees of all the plaintiffs' and defense attorneys and the time burden on non-attorneys, such as defendant's employees, who are called on to participate in the litigation.

It is contended that this litigation has little or no social utility and, in fact, has a significant component of negative disutility.

First, this litigation does not promote an objective of the law to lessen corporate wrongdoing, and this litigation is in fact is counterproductive to that end and it undermines the fostering and inculcation of ethical business conduct. Extensive argumentation in support of this contention is set out in Exhibit A hereto, entitled "Does the Law Undermine Business Ethics?"

Further this litigation is very questionable in serving the social utility of "doing justice." The main reason it is questionable is that it is likely there has been insufficient attention paid to the extent to which this litigation is about making transfers of amounts by and among parties in interest who are not culpable of any wrongdoing. It is possible there has been wrongdoing by corporate employees or other individuals, and as a result some innocent parties have received a benefit from the wrongdoing and other innocent parties have had a loss or cost imposed on them. Whether or not there has been wrongdoing, the case should be considered as an unjust enrichment case, and nothing more. The facts and circumstances of all the persons who have been unjustly enriched and at whose expense they have been unjustly enriched are likely highly variable and somewhat indeterminate, and it is likely there has not been adequate investigation, or opportunity for argument, as to persons who are contended to have been unjustly enriched, the particular facts about whether or not he was unjustly enriched or, if he was unjustly enriched, about whether more is being taken from him in the litigation than the amount by which he was unjustly enriched.

The below objectors have been in the plaintiff class in several class action lawsuits in which there has been wrongdoing or alleged wrongdoing and in which the litigation resulted mainly in transfers by and among innocent parties in interest who were not culpable of any wrongdoing and in which little or no attention was paid to which of the innocent parties were unjustly enriched, the amount of their respective unjust enrichments, and whether there was any correlation between the amount required to be borne by an innocent party in interest and the amount by which the party was unjustly enriched. These class action lawsuits had no or negative social utility on balance and various objections were made to them. Because these objections are illustrative about the lack of social utility, and may serve as enlightenment about the lack of social utility of this litigation, these objections relative to these other class action lawsuits are appended below as Exhibit B (a credit card currency conversion fee class action lawsuit), Exhibit C (a Charter cable TV internal wire maintenance fee), Exhibit D (a Xerox securities class action), and Exhibit E (Middlesex County Retirement System) and also as Exhibit F an analysis of a Tyco securities class action for which there was not status as a member of the plaintiff class and as Exhibit G an analysis of certain Enron litigation for which there was not status as a member of the plaintiff class .

If the social utility of this litigation is to be evaluated and judged under the foregoing criteria of (i) does it tend to lessen or tend to promote corporate wrongdoing, and (ii) to what extent does it serve justice by having innocent parties in interest who have been unjustly enriched to pay over their unjust enrichment, it is probably the case that more factual development is needed as to clause (ii). Defendant's counsel would be an appropriate attorney to do that factual development.

Absent such further factual development showing that more plaintiffs' fees are warranted based on social utility, we contend that the social utility of this litigation does not warrant plaintiffs attorneys fees in excess of $1,000,000.

Robert Shattuck
_____ Shattuck

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