Where's the Beef? - TheStreet

Where's the Beef?

Here are a few headlines Cramer expects to see in the future if the class-action suit against HMOs succeeds.
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Future stories I expect to see if the HMO mass tort class-action suit succeeds:

McDonald's, Wendy's Named in Billion-Dollar Cheeseburger Class-Action Suit

Plaintiffs Lawyers Inc., flush from its victories over tobacco, silicon and asbestos-makers as well as HMOs, set its sights today on the fast-food industry.

"Long a purveyor of high-cholesterol, fatty foods, it is time for these institutions to pay the price for the heart attacks and heart disease they caused," a spokesman for PLI said. "We can no longer let Mickey D's get away with this." All those individuals who can prove they have had a cheeseburger at McDonald's, Burger King or Wendy's will be allowed to join the class. "Billions have been served; now billions will be paid," the PLI spokesman said.

Disney, CBS-Viacom, General Electric and Time Warner Named in Billion-Dollar Violence Suit

Plaintiffs Lawyers Inc., flush from its recent victories over the HMO and fast-food industries, have now set its sights on the entertainment industry. "We are suing on behalf of all of those who have been victims of violent crimes because we know there is a link between television and movie violence and real violence," a spokesman said. "Anybody who has ever been hurt by anyone else can be eligible for this class," the spokesman continued. "This ought to teach these entertainment folk a real lesson..."

Discount Brokerages Hit by Billion-Dollar Class-Action Suit

After a tumultuous first half of 2000, the e-brokerage industry has been hit by a multibillion-dollar class-action suit filed by Plaintiffs Lawyers Inc. Flush from its victory over the tobacco, HMO and entertainment industries, the PLI has now decided it can try to win back some of the losses that individual investors have been clocked with owing to the volatility of the stock market this year. "We are suing on behalf of all individual investors who were lured into doing investments themselves by Stuart the Key Operator and Al the Tow Truck Man," a spokesman for PLI said. "If you watched one of these commercials and you lost money, you are part of the class and eligible to win billions of dollars"

And no one is willing to take them on. What a tragedy.

You think I am kidding? Just wait. Now that we have a national law firm and a ridiculous set of laws that allow any class to get formed, I will not be surprised to see any of these. In a bear market, the brokers will be unpopular and the entertainment and fast-food industries could make easy villains.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.