You’ve probably received an email, or maybe even a notice in the mail, saying you may be able to file a claim for a class action lawsuit settlement. Chances are, though, you probably didn’t follow through.
It’s what Demir Boldin, also known as DJ, said he initially did.
“I got that email about the class action lawsuit … and just like every other person I probably ignored the class action lawsuit,” he said.
But then several friends started texting about it.
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“And we saw it was real and that’s when we all joined in,” he said.
DJ is the husband of NBC 6 Consumer Investigator Sasha Jones. But in college, he played football, and like thousands of other college athletes, his likeness was being used in a video game over a period of several years.
“Everything on those video games was your actual size, your actual height, the school you went to, they even went to the extent to have your hometown,” he said. “So everything on there was you except the last name.”
Responding to every consumer complaint
A group of athletes filed a lawsuit against the video game maker and others and that eventually led to a $60 million class action settlement DJ was eligible to claim. So he answered a few questions.
“When you played, the era when you played, what year you played,” he said.
And then he waited.
“You had no idea how much you were going to get,” he said.
“Nothing’s quick in the legal system,” said Patrick Hanan with the website Classaction.org.
The site tracks all sorts of lawsuits and settlements you might be able to sign up for. It shows deadlines for filing a claim and how much money you might be able to get.
“Routinely people get hundreds of dollars from these,” he said. “It depends on the type of case it is, it depends on what’s at issue in the case.”
And it also depends on how many people actually make a claim. Class action lawsuit settlements like the one involving the price of chicken from earlier this year will likely have smaller payouts. But there are others with potential payouts in the thousands of dollars.
In 2016, several months after filling out the survey, DJ said he got a check in the mail for about $3,806.
“I was absolutely surprised,” he said.
The money arrived just after his son was born, so it came in handy. But there was more to it for him than what he got.
“I really don’t think it was about the money,” he said. “More so about sending the message.”
The settlement DJ was a part of marked the first time student-athletes were paid for their likeness or image, which he says helped pave the way for many of the recent changes we’ve seen involving student-athletes.
And that’s what Hanan said was so important about class action lawsuits: they can often bring about change. It’s why he said it is always worth carefully considering a settlement notice, even if you don’t end up getting a lot of money in the end.