What is a class action lawsuit?
A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one or several persons take legal action on behalf of a larger group of persons, referred to as “the class.”
While the subject matter of class action lawsuits can vary widely, two factors are almost always present for every class action:
- the issues in dispute are common to all members of the class, and
- the persons affected are so numerous as to make it impracticable to bring them all before the court.
Depending upon the type of class action, resolution of the lawsuit binds all members of the class certified by the Court. Under federal law.
Cases may start as the result of complaints by one or a handful of persons. If you have been harmed by a fraud, defective product, illegal conduct, or a deceptive practice, please feel free to contact us.
What are some types of class actions?
Examples of class actions include claims by:
- home or business owners affected by an environmental disaster;
- consumers who purchased the same defective product or who were deceived by the same false advertising or manipulative business practices;
- patients prescribed a prescription drug with dangerous side effects that the manufacturer was aware of and failed to disclose;
- consumers and small business owners who paid an inflated price for a product after a group of corporations conspired to fix prices;
- investors who lost their savings due to securities fraud committed by senior executives of a publicly traded company; and
- individuals whose sensitive, private communications were recorded by a corporation without their knowledge or authorization.
What are the public policy reasons supporting class action suits?
Class action lawsuits are designed to advance several important public policy goals. A class action is often the sole means of enabling persons, even those with serious injuries, to remedy injustices committed by powerful, multi-million dollar corporations and institutions.
In other situations, each person within a large group may have suffered only limited damages and the cost of individual lawsuits would be far greater than the value of each claim. The total damages, however, to the class could be quite large. The wrongdoer would have the incentive to continue its fraudulent conduct but for a class action.
Finally, where the defendant has engaged in a pattern of wrongdoing, a class action can provide an effective remedy for the group without incurring the costs of thousands of separate lawsuits and risking inconsistent decisions by the courts.