Plaintiff KENDALL BAKER (“BAKER”), through undersigned counsel, for her class action complaint against Defendant U.S. LEGAL SUPPORT, INC. (“US LEGAL”) and ROE CORPORATIONS 1 th.rough 100 and DOE INDIVIDUALS 101 through 200 (collectively “Defendants”); inclusive, alleges as follows:
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
“The price of a lawsuit is high and growing higher. How costly, and the history and rate of growth, are difficult to measure directly, but lawyers – the individuals best positioned to witness the trend and effect of civil litigation costs – overwhelmingly report a problem.”
This public policy concern is exponentia1ly magnified when institutional litigants, such as casualty insurance companies and large corporations, are allowed to leverage their market share and influence into undisclosed exclusivity and/or bulk purchasing agreements with Court Reporting Agencies to reap undisclosed financial discounts. In 2013 a]one, there were 99,709 total collisions in Washington.2 This figure does not take into account the many thousands of non-vehicle related insurance claims occurring annually in Washington. The sheer volume affords institutional litigants unwieldy leverage when negotiating long-terms, bulk services, including court reporting services. Undisclosed, unequal rates and terms (between litigants to the same case and receiving the same reporting services) function as “cost-shifting” mechanisms subsidizing part of the insurance earlier’ s litigation costs at the expense of injured individuals. By enacting the “equal-terms” requirement, the Washington legislature prohibited court reporting services from charging different rates, for the same service, to different parties in the same case.