James Lileks
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I got an ominous email the other day: "If you purchased any Pork product in the United States from June 28, 2014, through June 30, 2018, a class action lawsuit may affect your rights."

Which ones? The right to vote? I don't want to show up at the polls in November, and have someone say, "Sorry, you bought sausage in 2015, we've revoked your franchise. Also, we'll be quartering troops in your house."

As the letter went on to explain, I was invited to join the class action lawsuit. Here's the accusation:

"Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs' allege that Defendants and their co-conspirators conspired and combined to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize the price of Pork products with the intent and expected result of increasing prices of Pork products in the United States, in violation of federal and state consumer and antitrust laws."

You read that correctly: the conspirators conspired.

I had no idea there was a nefarious Pork Trust at work, but I have to admit something: My memory of pork prices in 2014 is pretty dim. It's possible I paid peak price for pork at some point, but proving it? No doubt I purchased pork in that period; I am a perpetual pork purchaser, but without paper proof I am a purported perpetual pork purchaser. If paper proof isn't needed, I am a possible purported pork purchaser in the potential plaintiff class.

The notice indicates that I do not have to participate in the lawsuit and can pursue pork producers on my own. Yes, I'll get right on that. Find some smart rogue lawyer, a rumpled guy, working out of a strip mall storefront, messy office, papers piled everywhere. He chain-smokes and gestures a lot.

"Listen, you're smart to come here. These fat cat, white-shoe law firms with the big nameplates and WASPy partners who've never known what it's like to fight for the little guy, they're in this for themselves. They sue for 200 mil, bargain down to 100 mil, take 40%, and everyone else gets a check for $1.37. But I can get you $3, maybe even $3.50."

"And you've fought for the little guy?"

"Of course. Had a guy in here the other day, couldn't be more than five-foot-two. I did estate planning for a woman who made a hummingbird look like a pterodactyl. What are you, five-five?"

"Five four, soaking wet."

"Perfect. I'll take the pork case — say, are you listening?"

"Yes, sorry, just thinking how difficult it would be to read this column aloud if you had a mouthful of crackers."

"Saltines v. Audible, I remember that case well. So we're good?"

We weren't. I'll probably just participate in the pig-purchase class-action suit, forget about it, get a check for $1.02 (after taxes) in four years, and promptly apply the windfall to another package of bacon. I'd like to think I'd get more, but that's a pie-in-the-sty dream. Big Pig always wins in the end.

Then again, maybe I'm eligible for a different class-action lawsuit! I found a website that shows all the open class-action lawsuits, so you can see if any of them apply to you. I regret to inform you that you are too late to participate in the titanic legal struggle against flushable wipes. Another recently concluded lawsuit concerned the South of France Products, which were not, get this, from France.

According to the website, "The name of the products, French translations, images of the southern French coastline, and other statements and iconographs on the labels give consumers the mistaken belief that the products, which are manufactured in the United States, are from France."

Quel horrors! You mean this product I enjoyed and found completely suitable to my needs has implied a Gallic origin? My sense of my class status is wounded! Shower me with Franklins!

Wait until some smart lawyer hears about the Milky Way candy bar. I can hear the opening arguments:

"Your honor, the defendant conveys the mistaken belief that the confection is sourced from the galactic resources in the observable cosmos, and furthermore, the use of 'dark' chocolate implies 'Dark matter,' which thus far is a theoretical construct. What's more, the name of the company, 'Mars,' only serves to further the ruse. We ask eleventy billion dollars."

For that matter, now that I think about it, how about all the times I've been to France Avenue, and started humming "Le Marseillaise" and wondered where I could get a baguette and a Gitane? Can we sue both Minneapolis and Edina?

I'm pretty sure I bought bacon and a Mars bar on France Avenue, so maybe we can really hit the jackpot. I'm talking $4, maybe $5 for each of us.

james.lileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858 • Twitter: @Lileks • facebook.com/james.lileks