January 19, 2009, - 2:05 pm

Forget the O-Nauguration: FREE Makeup & Perfume Across the US, Tomorrow (Thanks to Greedy Lawyers)

By Debbie Schlussel
Forget Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration, tomorrow. For women (and perhaps a few gay men) across America, tomorrow is free makeup and perfume day, courtesy of greedy lawyers and nitwit class action plaintiffs.
They sued department stores and high-end makeup purveyors around the country over alleged price-fixing in the 1990s. What was the “price-fixing”? Well, the lawyers claimed that America’s women were deprived and otherwise ripped off because the defendant department stores and cosmetic companies allegedly coordinated and alternated when they would offer a free gift to go along with the purchase of makeup by Estee Lauder, Clinique, etc.
Do you remember what makeup you bought at a department store in the 1990s? Do you feel “victimized” that one store offered a special free gift with purchase one week and another the next week? Me, neither. But you can thank Fatemah Azizian, Soraya Farrah (both Arabs, but every ethnicity is represented) and the other named Plaintiffs in the Fatemah Azizian et al. v. Federated Department Stores, Inc. et al. (Read the Full Lawsuit Complaint) for your free makeup windfall, tomorrow.


And even if you do feel victimized and raped by this horrible example of torture, don’t worry about finding your receipt from October of 1996 for a $12 eyeliner. You don’t have to prove that you actually bought anything from any of these companies in order to take part in this silly, exorbitant plunder. Since the stuff is being given away free on a first-come, first-served basis tomorrow, the true alleged “victims” in this case may not even comprise any of the swag recipients. And that’s not the point of this lawsuit.
Anyone can just show up, tomorrow morning, at any of the stores listed here and get one of the cosmetics and perfumes specified free of charge. (Guys, here’s an idea to please your wife or girlfriend for free–go pick up some free perfume for her, courtesy of a dumb lawsuit. Or stock up so you won’t have to spring for a Valentine’s Day gift, next month.)
Addressing the “injustice” of getting free gifts from Nordstrom or Macy’s back in 1994 isn’t the point of this class action lawsuit settlement. Nope. The point is to transfer millions in wealth to greedy lawers. Soaking Big Cosmetics–that’s the point. Soaking Big Makeup for greedy lawyers. It’s a transfer of wealth from those who tested substances on women’s faces to those who spent three years in law school. I did a little research. Here’s the payout list of approved attorney’s fees from the case:




Over $24 million to lawyers who sued over women getting a free makeup gift in the 1990s. Is it just me, or is there something terribly wrong with this picture? Something that free makeup won’t help other than as lipstick on a legal pig.
I can just see the salivating Gitmo inmates now. After all, if women can get hundreds of millions to settle a lawsuit for their “injury” of receiving a free makeup gift in the 1990s, imagine what a Muslim who was “forced” to listen to Christina Aguilera music, sit on a La-Z-Boy chair, read Harry Potter, will get.
Cosmetics companies and department stores are shelling out $175 million in this settlement (with the attorney’s fees, it’s $200 mill). And guess who’ll pay the price? You, the consumer. And it won’t just be women who buy cosmetics who will be paying higher prices to make up for this tremendous payout. Department stores, like Macy’s and Neiman Marcus, will raise their prices on everything. Not exactly the step they want to or should take in this sour economy.
Sadly, this isn’t the only ridiculous, costly class action settlement of late. I’ve written about plenty of them, including dumb lawsuits about bananas and another about low-carb candy. And they will never end until we tighten up rules on class action suits. And that won’t happen in a lawyer-friendly Obama administration.
And it won’t happen with judges like Federal Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong, who awarded the absurd amount of lawyer fees in this ludicrous lawsuit. (She was appointed to the bench by George Herbert Walker Bush.)
Questions need to be asked, which Her Dishonor Ms. Brown didn’t ask. Like, how exactly did Ms. Azizian, Ms. Farrah, and the other plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit find out that they were injured in 1994 by getting a free cosmetic gift with their purchase? How did they learn of the free gift coordination between stores and cosmetic companies? How did they find a lawyer to file the suit? I think it’s clear that it was the other way around–the lawyers found them. And that’s called “solicitation,” illegal for lawyers to do in most state in the Union. The whole thing stinks, so much so that free perfume tomorrow won’t mask the stench.
The next time a trial lawyer–I call them the “Ludicrous Litigeratti” tells you how trial lawyers do important work seeking legal redress for injuries in the courts, your response should be:
Yeah, important work like Fatemah Azizian et al. v. Federated Department Stores, right?
The plaintiffs in this case aren’t victims. They’re perpetrators.
Since I posted this today, I can’t miss out on saying this:
Martin Luther King, Jr. may have had a dream, but thanks to the greedy trial lawyers, we have free face cream.

7 Responses

Hopefully price increases is the worst effect that we will experience. Potentially, actions like this can also result in loss of jobs. The department stores have all been doing lousy, as have cosmetic companies, and settlements like this could result in increased layoffs, and accelerate potential liquidations/mergers.
On the bright side though, a lot of these victims smell bad, so maybe more perfume around will make it easier for the rest of us.

c f on January 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Miss Schlussel, Et Alii:
A number of years back (I’ve lost track of time), Viet Nam veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange were awarded compensation as a result of a class action lawsuit against several chemical corporations (popularly known as the “Seven Sisters”).
The case was settled out of court, with the law firms getting paid millions of dollars in attorney fees.
Viet Nam veterans received five thousand dollars, paid over a period of three years.
I was one of the Viet Nam veterans who received a payment, and assisted a couple of other Viet Nam veterans in obtaining their payment.
I’ve been very lucky.
Although I was exposed to Agent Orange, I don’t yet have cancer.
Thank you.
John Robert Mallernee
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

writesong on January 19, 2009 at 3:58 pm

They need to cap lawyer fee after amount of money. Forget the 25-33% on clash action lawsuits it should be limited to a certain dollar amount and the rest should be given to plaintiffs.
I saw Alioto law firm and the Aliotos are big San Francisico liberal political family. Angela Alioto wants to be next Pelosi. She is a loudmouth liberal. Unfortunately very ambitious.

californiascreaming on January 19, 2009 at 10:00 pm

The attorneys in this case and many others like the tobacco settlement have a license to steal.
When is Congress going to stop this legalized theft? The current legal Bar is just like the mafia in my humble opinion.
I will never forget when David Kendell tried to turn in a Billion Dollar claim for services rendered in the Florida tobacco settlement case that was eventually over turned. Thankfully, the Judge denied all of his payments for services rendered.
Unfortunately, this does not happen very often.

ScottyDog on January 20, 2009 at 12:58 pm

I went ahead and read the whole legal document. Once you get through the pages of defendants, it’s basically saying that cosmetic manufacturers don’t allow department stores to offer sales or discounts on any of their products, that each department store can only buy so much of a manufacturer’s product. And as much as I hate lawyers and am glad most will be in hell one day, they are right. I don’t personally buy cosmetics from department stores and one reason is that they are overpriced, no matter which store you go to. Everyone knows that the markup is ridiculous. Nobody is twisting anybody’s arm to buy the stuff, but millions of women do, which has been comfortably lining the pockets of the big cosmetics companies for decades. I’m just sorry that the lawyers are getting all the money. But maybe it will change the practice of cosmetic firms, they’ll lower prices, offer sales and/or discounts, and more women will be able to afford to purchase their products.

Jac on January 21, 2009 at 3:36 pm


Do you remember what makeup you bought at a department store in the 1990s? Do you feel “victimized” that one store offered a special free gift with purchase one week and another the next week?

Perfume on May 25, 2010 at 5:21 am

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