Commission condemns payments to lawyers in the form of coupons

Posted Feb 6, 2010 by Sandy Sand
It’s okay to get a discount by cashing in coupons at the super market check stand, but a judicial panel ruled that coupons could not be used to pay attorneys’ fees in a court settlement.
A judicial commission in San Francisco, California, admonished a retired judge and criticized him for ordering that a lawyer be paid for his services in $10 coupons after settling a class-action lawsuit.
In the suit, Windsor Fashions, Inc. was accused of invading the privacy of its customers by asking them for personal information while ringing up their purchases on their credit cards.
Windsor Fashions issued coupons to the plaintiffs as part of the settlement a year ago. Los Angeles County Superior Court Brett Klein ordered that in that same settlement, that in addition to the plaintiffs being paid off in coupons, the attorneys who won the $125,000 for their clients also be paid in coupons.
California’s Commission on Judicial Performance, the body that disciplines errant judges, found that unacceptable. The panel found that Klein’s treatment of the attorneys and plaintiffs was “biased” and “abusive.” They also said he:
…he improperly communicated with the press by e-mailing his decision to a small (unnamed) newspaper.