What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?
We have all received that postcard in the mail saying we belong to a class of plaintiffs and should claim our award or “opt out.” But what exactly do these choices mean?
Class Actions Empower Consumers
In a class action lawsuit, individual consumers with similar losses collectively sue a corporate defendant. Class actions enable the group to pursue claims that would be impractical to file on their own because the individual damages are too small to justify the cost of litigation. In a class action, these “small” claims can be aggregated, resulting in potentially significant damages to the defendant and the possibility that consumers might recover their losses.. In this way, class actions deter corporate misconduct and provide for consumer recovery.
Class actions give regular people a voice. When only one person sustains $500 in damages, it is cost prohibitive to file a lawsuit and no lawyer would take the case. But if 10,000 people are similarly injured by the same company, suddenly the defendant is exposed to enough liability to give consumers the leverage to obtain the recovery to which they are entitled.
Large corporations habitually toy with people’s lives to increase profits. They make the calculated decision that even if a few regular folks are injured by their product, they will make more money than they lose. When you are a victim of corporate misconduct, you might feel powerless and used. But you can spearhead the fight against corporate greed and corruption by calling The Law Office of Richard Schechter today for a free case evaluation.
New Class Action Cases Arise Every Day, In Every Way
Some common types of class action cases are:
- Deceptive sales practices, such as false advertising;
- Defective vehicles;
- Defective products;
- Unauthorized billing charges;
- Unfair contract provisions;
- Data privacy breaches; and
- Breaches of warranty.
These are typical class action cases, but there are countless other wrongs perpetrated daily against millions of consumers. This wrongdoing, unless stopped, allows corporations to plump up their bottom line and take the risk that the people they injure will assume they have no recourse. If you feel a business has taken advantage of you to your detriment, you may not be the only one. Call our expert legal team at the Law Office of Richard Schechter for a free and confidential case evaluation.
How a Class Action Works
The first step, and most significant hurdle, in a class action lawsuit is to get “class certification.” To get a class certified, the named plaintiffs must prove adequacy of representation, numerosity, commonality, and typicality.
- Adequacy of Representation. This means the class is represented by named plaintiffs capable of representing everyone similarly situated.. Class representatives and counsel must be competent to present the entire class’s claims. Class representatives cannot have a conflict of interest with other class members, and the lawyers they hire will usually need experience with class actions.
- Numerosity. The numerosity requirement refers to the number of people damaged rather than the number of plaintiffs who sue. The requirement is not specific, but courts usually require that more than 40 persons were harmed by the conduct of the defendant.
- Commonality. When class members share a common legal theory or factual allegations, they have commonality. Commonality promotes the efficiency essential to class actions. Where commonality exists, class counsel can use the same evidence to prove all members’ claims.
- Typicality. Typicality means that the claims or defenses of the representatives are typical of those of the class.
How To Become a Class Member
Your membership in a class is automatic when you meet the class criteria. Absent class members are not involved in the litigation but are bound by its results. In some cases, it is possible to “opt out” of a class, meaning you reserve your right to sue the defendant on your own. Suing on your own is usually not a viable option, because if you meet the class certification requirements, your claim won’t be large enough to make it practical to sue the corporation.
Class Action Awards
Most class actions settle. The defendant will offer to pay the class a certain sum of money (the “fund”) and agree to cease its misconduct. After the court approves the settlement, the defendant sets up a fund to pay class members’ claims, and class members are identified. Each class member then receives a percentage of the fund.
Class representatives sacrifice more than unnamed class members because they must devote time to working up the case and appearing in court. The discretionary “incentive award” compensates class representatives for their increased time in spearheading the class’s claims. When you hire the Law Office of Richard Schechter, we will pursue all possible avenues to get you a fair incentive award.
How Are Costs & Fees Paid?
You pay nothing up front. We advance litigation costs for our plaintiffs, and class action attorneys fees are always determined by the court. Because most class actions settle, the attorneys fees and costs usually come out of the settlement fund.
Why Hire The Law Office of Richard Schechter, P.C.?
Our legal team has the expertise required to win a class action lawsuit, and we won’t stop fighting until we get results. We represent class action plaintiffs on a contingent fee basis. That means we don’t get paid unless our clients do. If you have been a victim of corporate malfeasance, call the Law Office of Richard Schechter today for a complimentary case evaluation.
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