In re Computer Monitor Cases

Topic(s): 
Class Actions — Objections to Proposed Settlements
Case Description: 

This case arose out of allegations that the computer industry misrepresented the size of computer monitor screens. In 1995, the California Attorney General and a coalition of District Attorneys negotiated a settlement under which the computer companies agreed to disclose actual viewable screen size and to desist from misleading advertising. Meanwhile, a number of state-court class actions had been filed in California and consolidated in a single proceeding. That proceeding resulted in a proposed settlement of a nationwide class (an estimated 40 million consumers, businesses, and governmental entities). Under the settlement, each class member would receive a $13 rebate off the price of a computer monitor or system. If the class member did not want to purchase a new monitor or computer system, the consumer members of the class could hold on to their rebate forms and submit them for $6 in the year 2000. Representing individual objectors, Public Citizen submitted detailed objections criticizing the lack of value to class members and the high fees for class counsel.

After a fairness hearing in June, 1997, and some additional briefing and hearings, the trial court approved the settlement.