I've been following, on and off, a story of the most vile nature involving...what else? Lawyers. It seems that here in California, there's a Depression era law on the books that allows anyone to sue on behalf of the public. A group of enterprising young lawyers set up shop, established a front corporation, Consumer Enforcement Watch, and began filing mass produced lawsuits naming a few hundred small businesses at a crack. They're suing nail salons, small restaurants and automotive repair shops. They get the names of the companies they want to sue off the internet. For example, the Bureau of Automotive Repair in California keeps a list of all car repair shops in the state that have ever been cited for anything available on their website. The vast majority of shops being sued have violations along the lines of incompletely filled out estimates, forgetting to write down odometer readings, placing hazardous disposal fees in the wrong box and other minor paperwork errors. The Trevor Law Group just downloads the list of names and violations, cranks up the copy machine and files a few hundred suits on behalf of their front corporation....nevermind that the corporation has no phone number, no address and only a P.O. Box. They then send out a followup letter and occasionally a phone call admonishing the company for their bad behavior and strongly encouraging them to settle for $2000. The caveat is that the company agree to give Consumer Enforcement Watch access to all their books and records for four years...so that they can look for anything new and file suit again. The local ABC affiliate ran an investigative piece on this and found some rather interesting information: They absolutely do not bring suit against companies that are incorporated with multiple store outlets as these types of businesses have the financial resources and the will to contest these suits and not settle. More info here, here and here.