All of us have received a letter in the mail or seen a commercial regarding class action lawsuits. So what are they? A class action is a lawsuit in which one or several persons sue on behalf of a larger group of people. A class action can be brought in either federal or state courts, and are generally used when too many people have been affected by the subject of the claim for each of them to file a separate lawsuit.
Examples of class action lawsuits include claims of injury for hazardous products, such as dangerous drugs, tobacco, asbestos, contraceptive devices, and breast implants. Class actions are also frequently used in securities cases, employment cases, and to stop illegal or harmful practices like manufacturing pollution or oil spills.
A class can become certified by one or more plaintiffs asking the court to certify the case as a class action. The Lead Plaintiff and class action attorneys must show that the case meets several criteria: that there is a legal claim against the defendant, that there is a significantly large group of people who have been injured in a similar way and the cases of members of the class involve similar issues of fact and law, and that the Lead Plaintiff has a reasonable plan and the ability to adequately represent the class.
All members of a class will be notified of their class membership and this membership is automatic unless they choose to opt-out. The recovery of the class action is decided by the court and divided among the class members following the end of the suit.
If you believe you were injured or damaged and that a class action would be an effective tool against the wrongdoer, please contact us as soon as possible. If you feel you have a claim, our attorneys would like to talk to you.