On September 17, 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement began in Manhattan’s Financial District when thousands of people joined together to fight against the corrosive power of Wall Street. A few months later, this site was founded to support those who are attempting to changes things for the better through the court system.
When filing a lawsuit, there are three ways to proceed, each with advantages and disadvantages to the filing party:
- Private Action
(high expense, high risk, big personal reward possible, small impact)
- Class Action
(zero expense, low risk, small personal reward possible, big impact)
- Pro Se Action
(low expense, medium risk, big personal reward possible, big impact with scaling)
The right option will be determined by your case and your opponent. Generally speaking, if you’re going up against a big opponent with deep pockets who has obviously damaged a large number of people, a class action lawsuit would be the best choice.
If you are up against a big opponent with deep pockets, but your damages are not going to be easy to prove or sizeable, it is unlikely you’ll be able to find an attorney to file the case on a class action basis or contingent basis.
Instead, you’ll need to file using one of the other two methods. Unfortunately, the number of people who can afford the ten of thousands of dollars required to pursue private actions is very small. If we are to get any traction in the courts, we will need a more powerful approach …
People-Powered Court Actions
The good news is, “The right of a party to a legal action to represent his or her own cause has long been recognized in the United States, and even predates the ratification of the Constitution.” These so-called “pro se” civil actions are inexpensive for the common person, but remain very expensive to the corporate entities that must hire a team of lawyers to defend their interests. This mismatch in cost structure, is a great equalizer between the money and power of corporate entities, and the common people.
When combined with the power of the Internet, we now have a great venue for sharing and learning from each other. All federal court cases are online, and many state court records are as well. There are also online resources like The Federal Practice Manual for Legal Aid Attorneys and Google research which are available for free.
Our first case was against Bank of America for Foreclosure Fraud. Because of the legal and political atmosphere at the time, very few attorneys were willing to take this case on a class action or contingent basis. Instead, we filed pro se, and after a four year battle, came out way ahead of where we have been otherwise. You can learn all about this case on our sister site: ProSeAction.org.
Our most recent case is against Robo Callers and the health insurance companies who ultimately benefit from these calls. This case is ongoing, and is covered in detail in our blog.