Each year a large number of Americans become plaintiffs in “class action” lawsuits throughout the country. In this unique type of litigation, individuals band together to file a suit as a single entity against a common defendant. Understanding what is involved in filing a class action lawsuit can help individuals in deciding if this is the best legal course of action for them.
Benefits of Filing
Most class action lawsuits would be impractical for an individual consumer or investor to file on their own behalf. Often the financial injury sustained by the plaintiffs individually is too small to justify the accompanying legal costs of filing a lawsuit. By banding together with others, individuals can obtain compensation for even small losses. Class action plaintiffs do not have to pay attorney fees or litigation costs from their own pocket. Legal expenses and costs are paid from the proceeds of any resulting settlement or judgment.
Another important reason to file a class action lawsuit is to hold companies accountable on a large scale by fighting on behalf of an entire class. Many class action lawsuits have resulted in significant industry changes by exposing corruption and forcing the end to business practices polluting the environment.
Need for Class Members
Individuals cannot file a class action lawsuit by themselves. To be filed as a class action, a lawsuit must allege the violation of the rights of a large group of individuals in the same or almost identical way. Proving the law was broken in a systematic way requires many plaintiffs alleging similar harm.
The court must “certify” the class before the lawsuit can proceed. Individuals who fall within the potential class must be notified of the claim. Notice through mail, publication, or through the internet all may be acceptable depending on the circumstances. With the assistance of an experienced class action attorney, individuals can complete these necessary steps as quickly and efficiently as possible. Attempting to certify a class without the proper legal guidance can result in a judge’s denial of certification and rejection of the class action lawsuit.
Duties of Class Members
Class members generally do not have to do anything to become part of the class action. Should a settlement result, the class members may need to submit some type of claim form verifying their membership in the class and right to receive compensation. One class member typically becomes the class representative with additional duties such as being available for depositions or trial testimony.
Common Types of Class Action Lawsuits
The most common type of class action lawsuit involves illegal or unfair business practices that affect a large group of consumers. Companies charging excessive late fees, failing to honor rebate programs, adding hidden charges to invoices, or otherwise misleading consumers about the quality of the services are frequent defendants in these types of lawsuits. Other class action lawsuits have addressed unsafe products such as medications sold without listing their side effects.
Class Action Attorneys at Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP Represent Individuals in Class Action Lawsuits
If you are interested in filing a class action lawsuit, the experienced litigation lawyers at Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP can help you navigate this unique type of litigation. With offices conveniently located in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout the United States. To schedule a consultation with an experienced class action attorney today, call us at 877-891-9880 or submit an online inquiry form.