People Are Awesome: This College Kid Is an Expert at Taking Big Companies to Court, and Winning!

This college student is "on a mission to show you don't have to pay a lawyer $225 an hour to get your voice heard."

This one's for everyone out there who ever gave up on a just crusade to get a refund from a big company for a faulty product, false promise, or erroneous fee. Twenty-two year-old college student Christopher Akinyemi has become an expert in taking these companies to court, and bringing home cold hard cash.

MSNBC's Red Tape Chronicles profiles Akinyemi's longtime hobby of taking beating Dell, Bank of America, and Sprint in small claims court. Akinyemi tells MSNBC, it's something of a crusade for better business.

"I've stood up for the average Joe since I was 18. I put my foot down," said Akinyemi. "I have a heart for justice in business. ... I'm on a mission to show you don't have to pay a lawyer $225 an hour to get your voice heard."


Akinyemi's most impressive victory should be cathartic for everyone whose pleas to unsubscribe have fallen on deaf ears. He sued Lending Tree for sending him spam, asking for $3,000 in damages. That's $500 for every piece of unwanted email he got, the maximum amount under Indiana anti-spam law. In the end he took $500 from the company as a settlement. Not bad.

If you want to try something similar, Boing Boing has a how-to guide for exploiting the national no-spam law for $500 payouts as well, so long as you are willing to endure the fine print of the law and follow a strict script.

Akinyemi says the secret to getting an easier payout is reasoning with the enemy, offering to settle the case for less than the company would have to pay a lawyer to actually go to court.

For his legal savvy, and small claims success—10 out of 12 cases so far—Akinyemi is fast earning himself a reputation at these companies. Most of these settlements include something called a "no future business" agreement, a tool companies use to rid themselves of customers who cost them too much to deal with. "I have one with Bank of America. That means for the rest of my life I can't ever do business with them, even if I live to be 100 years old," he tells MSNBC. That's the cost of doing business he's willing to bear.

Via Consumerist.


Two years after its opening in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art acquired a painting by Sarah Miriam Peale — its first work by a female artist. More than a century later, one might assume that the museum would have a fairly equal mix of male and female artists, right? But as of today, only 4% of the 95,000 pieces in the museum's permanent collection were created by women.

The museum is determined to narrow that gap, and they're taking a drastic step to do so.

Keep Reading Show less
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet