I hadn’t planned on writing this commentary today. My “next” commentary was certainly not going to be based on a so-called, yet-to-be-filed class action racial discrimination lawsuit by “Bachelor” wannabes. Unfortunately, I do feel the need to make some comments given what I have covered so far with current “Bachelor” lawsuit against Reality Steve and the earlier 2003 lawsuit against Bob Guiney.
Let me start off very quickly by saying that this non-story smells very fishy on several levels.
First, this reminds me of Jesse Csincsak’s very public announcement in January 2012 through the tabloid and celebrity media of how he (along with fellow “Bachelor”/”Bachelorette” contestants) was supposedly going to file a so-called class action lawsuit against executive producer, Michael Fleiss. The tabloid and celebrity media (that enjoy sensationalism so much) ran with the story without remotely understanding what a class action lawsuit actually entails. Since Csincsak said it, it must be true. NOT.
It made for good celebrity headlines but like cotton candy, it melts away very quickly under the mild heat of scrutiny.
Assuming that every single “Bachelor” ex-contestant agreed to support Csincsak in a proposed class action lawsuit, 500 ex-contestants is not really a “class”. It’s a small club. I could not imagine any respectable class action lawyer claiming that 500 ex-contestants is a “class” in a class action lawsuit.
Most class action lawyers’ work is compensated based on a percentage of the overall monetary settlement, if any. The percentages can range anywhere from 15% to 33%. And so if an attorney and his legal team are going to take on a so-called class action case and put in all the crazy hours to do the work for months on end without pay so they can get a relatively small percentage of the end settlement, there better be a good chance of getting a huge monetary settlement for it to be worthwhile.
I could go on further about what class action lawsuits are really about and used for but I would rather provide a link to Lawyers.com that does an excellent job answering many common questions about class action lawsuits. Unless we are dealing with a widespread consumer issue, I am skeptical of any talks of class action lawsuits.
Bottom line, Csincsak never filed a lawsuit of any kind. It was a non-story that tabloid and celebrity media picked up on and actually went nowhere.
Fast forward to today. This class action racial discrimination lawsuit talk smells like another story that tabloid and celebrity media enjoy today but could ultimately go nowhere in the next few weeks. I could be wrong but that is how it smells to me at the moment.
We supposedly have the attorneys of two African-American football players from Nashville (Christopher Johnson and Nathaniel Claybrooks) “announcing” they will be filing a class action suit on Wednesday with a racial discrimination complaint. Supposedly, they will hold a press conference to explain their reasons.
I did my best to keep an open mind and scan for some credible articles of this so-called story. Most of the “stories” I saw were parroted articles of one another using similar language from a basic press release but nothing of any real substance. The two articles I found that seemed to remotely have any real meaningful content was EW’s article that included the opinion of a California-based entertainment lawyer and the Hollywood Reporter article.
According to the EW article, the class action lawsuit is on behalf of “all persons of color who have applied for the role of The Bachelor or Bachelorette but been denied the equal opportunity for selection on the basis of race.” It will be interesting to find out how many “persons of color” have applied over the years. I suspect it isn’t large enough to even qualify as a class.
My gut feeling is that the press conference is being used as a publicity stunt (and fishing expedition) to put the word out encouraging other “persons of color” (who also applied to be a “Bachelor” contestant) to become part of a “planned and upcoming” lawsuit. Without some significant numbers, this endeavor will have very limited mileage. I will say that the negative publicity will NOT be good for ABC given that the season premiere of “The Bachelorette” is only a few weeks away.
I am going to focus on a few things. Let’s find out if a bona-fide complaint is actually filed in court, not simply a “planned and upcoming” lawsuit or some vanilla complaint. That’s a real big one. If so, I want to know the name of the attorneys filing it. And then, I want to read the actual complaint and see what the alleged facts of the case are and what the allegations are.
UPDATES from the RED FLAG department:
Both men, who are African-American, are requesting class action status for the case, and their complaint is expected to be filed in federal court today, officials said.
I find it interesting how the local media included more detail than the national celebrity news media.
And according to WKRN-TV, the local ABC affiliate, Claybrooks has a prior history of filing a racial discrimination lawsuit.
In September 2009, Claybrooks was one of 20 African American plaintiffs named in a lawsuit suing Metro Government and Nashville Electric Service for racial discrimination.
At the time Claybrooks was employed as a meter reader for Metro.
The suit failed to become class action and was eventually dismissed with prejudice in December 2011 meaning the plaintiffs cannot re-file.
The original Hollywood Reporter story stated:
Claybrooks and Johnson, both African Americans, are being represented by three law firms: Barrett Johnston, Mehri & Skalet and Perkins-Law.
It should be interesting to see how three different law firms actually handle this and who will be the spokesperson for all three law firms. All of this seems a bit odd to me but we will see how it all plays out.