Class Action Lawsuits – A Way to effect Major Change
A class action lawsuit is a form of legal action in which a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and/or in which a group of defendants is being sued.Class actions are governed by federal and state court rules.
A class action is only certified when certain requirements are met:
Large numbers of Class Members
There have to be so many possible plaintiffs and lawsuits against a defendant that it’s not practical for them to file their own suits. Often, possible plaintiffs number in the hundreds or thousands.
Class Members – Similar Claim
The Claims of each class member need to raise common legal and factual issues, making it efficient to deal with all claims together. Thousands of claims against a manufacturer of a dangerous medication is a common example of a class action.
Same Claims & Same Defenses Applicable
The named plaintiffs, the representatives, have the same claims and defenses as the others in the class.
Representatives Provide Fair and Adequate Protection for the Class
The named plaintiffs and class lawyers must look out for the interests of everyone in the class. The lawyers’ competency is the main focus here, but courts look at the representatives, too.
A court must certify the class for the lawsuit to go ahead as a class action. The court sees if the above elements exist, and it certifies the class if a class action is the best way to manage the claims. Certification is usually granted when the class wants the defendant to do or stop doing something.
Why are Class Actions Effective?
The people who do not like class action lawsuits are running big companies with lots of lawyers at their disposal. They know that the average person, when cheated out of a relatively small amount of money, cannot afford the time and expense of an individual lawsuit.
Class action lawsuits are an important part of fairness. In a class action, people who have been similarly harmed by a big company can band together, find a law firm and file a lawsuit on behalf of the entire class of people.
Big companies would prefer to fight consumers one at a time, knowing that most people cannot launch a major drug recall, consumer protection or other lawsuit on their own. Class action lawsuits level the playing field and give consumers the leverage they need against companies that harm consumers physically and financially.
Stuart Chandler and The Chandler Law Firm have served as local and lead counsel on various class actions over the past several years. If you are a consumer or a fellow attorney interested is discussing a pending or potential class action, contact The Chandler Law Firm at (559) 431-7770.