Below is the first part of an article by Jonathan J. Cooper sfgate.com. It reads…
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A proposal in the Oregon Legislature to use unclaimed judgments from class-action lawsuits to fund legal services for the poor has raised deep divisions in the legal community.
The measure is supported by the Oregon State Bar but opposed by some of the state’s most prominent lawyers. And two lawmakers say they were invited to talk about the bill to a group of lawyers who raise money for legal aid, only to be uninvited once they showed up the next day.
Class-action lawsuits involve a group of people who allege they were harmed in the same way by a defendant, such as an employer accused of failing to pay overtime or a manufacturer accused of product defects. In Oregon, defendants keep any unclaimed portion of the judgment, which often happens when members of the class can’t be found or they choose not to respond because their individual earnings would be too small to justify the effort.
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