Sourbeer's biggest gripe is that the roughly 85 lawyers in the case are receiving $227 million in attorneys' fees and expenses, while the 25 primary plaintiffs and class representatives receive a total of just $395,270. According to the Frequently Asked Questions about the settlement, Toyota set up a $250 million fund to pay affected owners, as well. The money isn't for injuries or damages but for alleged economic loss to the vehicles. However, Sourbeer says he feels no personal suffering and still has the same car.
In addition to the settlement, the automaker obviously has its own legal fees to deal with, as well. Sourbeer wonders how this is all going to affect Toyotas in the future. Obviously, the money has to come from somewhere, and it likely gets amortized over the company's vehicles in the coming years to add a few dollars to each one. That puts the problem back onto customers.
Anyone involved in a class-action suit has likely seen this happen first hand. The lawyers take a large chunk of the money, and the rest is distributed in tiny morsels to those actually affected. Unfortunately, Sourbeer offers no solutions beyond saying the system needs to change.