How does a class action work?
First, a class is defined and a representative plaintiff is chosen. Then an action is filed in the appropriate court. Next, for the claim to proceed as a class action, a court must first permit, or "certify" the case as a class action.
How does a class action become certified?
Certification is granted where the court is satisfied that:
• There is a lawful claim against a defendant.
• There is an identifiable class of affected persons.
• There is an appropriate person to represent the class members.
• The class action procedure is preferable to other procedures available to claimants.
What is a representative plaintiff?
A representative plaintiff is the class member who agrees to act on behalf of the rest of the class. The representative plaintiff works with the lawyers to ensure the interests of the class are fairly represented and diligently pursued. Representative plaintiffs may also be required to give a short deposition detailing their individual claim and respond to written questions about their claim.
How do I become the representative plaintiff?
The representative plaintiff is usually selected prior to certification. No special skills or qualifications are required to serve as a representative plaintiff, only the desire and ability to effectively represent the interests of fellow class members.
How are representative plaintiffs compensated?
Representative plaintiffs will receive the same benefits, if any, that are awarded to the class as a whole. They may also be granted a "class representative incentive award" by the court, for their participation as a named plaintiff.
What advantages does a class action have over a regular lawsuit?
Class actions have many advantages over conventional lawsuits:
• Class actions allow people to file a claim as a group, when individually they cannot afford to do so.
• Class actions create strength in numbers.
• Class actions force large corporations or entities to be held accountable for wrongdoing.
• Class actions place fewer obligations on class members than conventional lawsuits.
• Class actions are cost effective and increase judicial efficiency because they unite numerous plaintiffs under one case.
• Class actions run on contingency fees or fees awarded by the court. That means your lawyers receive a portion of any settlement awarded to the class, or are awarded fees to be paid by the defendant. Class members are not required to make any payments. The more your lawyers win for you, the more they will likely get paid. It's in their best interest to gain the best settlement possible.
If I am a class member, how do I join the class action lawsuit?
If you fall within the class member definition of a certified class action, then you are automatically deemed to be a part of the class action.
How can I find out if I have a new class action claim?
If you think you have suffered some physical or economic injury, and you believe that there may be others out there like yourself, contact us at [email protected]. Please note that there are limitation periods within which you must file your claim. If too much time passes after your injury or loss, you may lose your right to sue for compensation.
If you have any additional questions, please contact us.