Pros And Cons Of Joining A Class Action Lawsuit – It’s fair to say that most people have heard of class action lawsuits. The media regularly covers large class action lawsuits, especially when they involve large companies, such as the recent class action against Volkswagen for interfering with emissions controls or a drug manufacturer whose product does far more harm than good to everyone who uses it.
However, most people still have many questions about class action lawsuits. What is a class action? How do they start? How to start or join it? Who can I talk to about a class action lawsuit? If you are asked to join a class action lawsuit, is it in your best interest?
Pros And Cons Of Joining A Class Action Lawsuit
In this list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), we aim to answer many of these common questions and help you determine whether you are a good fit for a lawsuit, class action, or not. Here’s what you need to know about a class action lawsuit:
What Is A Class Action Lawsuit?
When many people have been harmed by the actions of an organization or company in a similar way, they can file a class action lawsuit.
For example, many women have contracted an autoimmune disease after receiving silicone breast implants. After they got together, the women filed a class action lawsuit. In the end, the manufacturer of silicone breast implants agreed to 3.4 billion dollars.
In each case, a group of people who felt they had been harmed by the defendant’s actions came together to start a class action.
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All class actions involve claims for damages by many people, often including one of the following reasons:
When looking at the class action lawsuits mentioned above, they provide great examples of several benefits of filing a class action lawsuit:
Anyone can join a class action if they believe they have been harmed financially or physically because of the way the lawsuit is being handled. Technology has made it much easier for people to find out if there is a class action lawsuit that may involve them. Here are two ways to learn about a class action lawsuit:
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Several websites provide up-to-date information on current class action lawsuits and investigations. At any given time, there are literally dozens of class action lawsuits going on in the United States. These websites will not give you legal advice, but they will give you as much information as possible, such as how to join a class action lawsuit, and recommend that you contact a licensed attorney as soon as possible. These websites can be found by searching for “list of class action lawsuits.”
People can also use the Internet to do an online search to see if there are any class action lawsuits that may be involved. For example, if you have a defective product, such as a car, enter the model, year, and the phrase “class action” in the search box. If there is a class action for this product, you will also receive information on how to join that class action.
If you believe that you have been physically or financially injured or have suffered damages in any way that you believe may be common to others, you may file a class action lawsuit.
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While anyone can file a class action lawsuit, it is important to consult with a class action attorney if you wish to do so. Class actions can be very complex. An attorney will help you determine whether you have grounds for a class action lawsuit by reviewing four prerequisites with you:
Your attorney will then help you find other important information you should know before starting a class action lawsuit. They will determine whether the potential award is large enough to justify a class action, what resources the class action defendant has, and whether you should be the lead plaintiff.
You can contact your attorney and ask if they are interested in representing you in a class action. If not, they can refer you to attorneys who specialize in that area or in a certain type of class action, such as labor litigation.
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If you want to learn about joining a class action, use the Internet search as described above to gather information about current class actions.
In a class action, a group of people who have suffered similar injuries (either physical or financial) come together to file a lawsuit against a common defendant. If they win their class action or if a settlement is reached before trial, any awards will be shared among the class members.
A typical lawsuit has only one plaintiff, and if a judge or jury awards money, all those damages go to the same plaintiff.
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So, for example, a group of people can file a class action against the supplier of a medical device that has caused them all the same harm. A single plaintiff could file a lawsuit against a doctor or hospital for negligence.
A lead plaintiff, also known as a class representative or named plaintiff, represents anyone in a class action who has suffered a similar physical or financial injury. There may be more than one primary claimant. After you have hired an attorney to be your class action attorney, you should discuss with them whether you should be the lead plaintiff.
A lead plaintiff has several important additional responsibilities that other class action members do not:
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The lead plaintiff often receives a larger share of any final settlement. A judge or jury has the power to award the lead plaintiff a larger share depending on their role in the class action and the severity of their injuries.
The duration of class actions varies. Some classes last for months and some for several years. Generally, most class action lawsuits are resolved within two to three years, although it can take longer if the defendant appeals.
Sometimes companies are quick to agree, especially if they know they are wrong and want to avoid negative publicity. In other cases, deep-pocketed companies have been battling class-action lawsuits for years. A class-action lawsuit over the Exxon Valdes oil spill in Alaska dragged on for 26 years before a settlement was reached in 2015.
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Once you hire a class action attorney, one of the first things he or she will do is work with you to determine if your complaint is too small for a class action.
If your injury is too “personal,” it can be difficult to find other people with similar injuries caused by a product or company. Or even if others were similarly injured, that may not be enough to justify your class action lawsuit
Another factor may be the financial capabilities of the potential defendant. Is the potential financial reward worth the time and effort?
The Pros And Cons Of Joining A Class Action Lawsuit
Not all class actions are automatically certified by a judge. After the hearing, and in accordance with federal rules, the judge must determine:
There are no hard and fast rules about the “arithmetic” when it comes to the actual number of plaintiffs needed to prove a class action. Most judges will certify a class action if there are 40 or more plaintiffs. If there are 20 or fewer plaintiffs, the class action likely does not meet the plurality rule for determining a class action.
A class action involving 20 to 40 plaintiffs often rests with a judge.
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In 2005, Congress passed the Class Action Fairness Act, which allows many large class actions (at least 100 plaintiffs and total claims of at least $5 million) to be heard in federal court. Critics of the Act say it made it much harder for plaintiffs to sue big companies.
Yes, all plaintiffs in a class action must have the same injuries (physical or financial) or very similar injuries to be included in a class action.
A collective action is also called a representative action. A representative plaintiff is also called a principal plaintiff or named plaintiff.
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Federal regulations permit the division of a class into subclasses when appropriate. For example, again using the defective medical product example, a class action can be divided into subclasses where some class members seek different types of relief, such as damages for one group or medical examination for another group. Subclasses may also be used to address state laws that impose significantly different requirements on different facilities.
However, the problem with too many subclasses is that it can lead a judge to believe that equivalence cannot be established and therefore not to determine or certify a class action.
Many times, people may not even know they are part of a class action lawsuit. This is often the case when classroom activities involve large groups. The first thing you should do if you receive a notice of a class action lawsuit is review the material.
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The document you receive will explain why the class action is being filed and how you can participate. This could include your membership in a group or the fact that you bought something from a particular company and were “injured” by
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