What is a Class Action?
Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits are brought when a sizable number of people (the “class”) suffer similar injuries due to the actions of a particular defendant, usually a company. In order to proceed as a class action, however, certain criteria must be met. “Certification” is the process by which a judge will decide if a class action is appropriate. Generally, a case will be “certified” if there are similar legal or factual issues and the class is large enough to make individual suits impractical.
Once certified, the class action lawsuit will likely either settle or proceed to trial. Notice of the lawsuit, and any eventual settlement, will be distributed to members of the class. These notices include the purpose of the lawsuit, attorney contact information, applicable deadlines and an option for the class member to “opt-out”, thereby removing themselves from the lawsuit. If the names or addresses are unknown, a judge may approve notification through publication or radio announcement.
Common Types of Class Actions?
Class actions are brought for a number of reasons. Common examples of class actions involve employees with a common complaint against an employer, persons harmed by prescription drugs, persons harmed by defective products or residents of a particular community harmed by pollutants. The types of class action lawsuits include:
The attorneys at Audet and Partners, LLP have been successful in many class actions, including suits against the following companies:
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Class Actions?
As with any situation, there are both advantages and disadvantages to bringing a class action lawsuit. Advantages include:
• Lower litigation costs
• Deterrence of future wrongdoing by the defendant and others
• Judicial efficiency
• The ability for plaintiffs to seek damages for smaller amounts of money; otherwise, it may be financially impracticable to file a traditional lawsuit.
However, there are reasons why a class action may not be the appropriate remedy for a client, including:
• A client needs a quick resolution to their case. Often times, a class action is a lengthy process.
• Class members give up the right to sue individually, which may work to the client’s disadvantage in some situations.
• The plaintiff is seeking a remedy other than financial damages since many class action lawsuits settle for money, rebates or promises for future services.
Should I Pursue a Class Action Claim?
When considering both the advantages and disadvantages, it is important to consult an attorney before deciding whether to pursue a class action or agree to become a member of an existing suit.
The attorneys at Audet & Partners, LLP., have significant experience in reviewing, investigating and prosecuting class action cases. We avoid ‘coupon’ oriented settlements, instead focusing on monetary and non-monetary relief that benefit the class as a whole. We will provide you with an evaluation on the best way to proceed, so as to maximize your compensation for injuries suffered.