Class action lawsuits are legal actions brought by a large group of people (called plaintiffs) usually against a large corporate entity (called the defendant). These claims and lawsuits are subject to state and federal court rules. Class action lawsuits must be certified for the suit to go forward as a “class action.” Certain requirements must be met in order to meet certification. This usually occurs when the class of people wants the defendant to perform some action or cease in the performance of an action.
Common class action lawsuits are commonly brought against large corporations by groups of consumers. At Chandler Law, Attorney Stuart Chandler and his team have served as local and lead counsel on various class actions over the past decades. If you are a consumer or a fellow attorney interested in discussing a pending or potential class action, we urge you to turn to our firm. We have a proven track record of successful client representation in the local courts in civil claims and lawsuits.
The following are the certification requirements for a class action lawsuit:
Large Numbers of Plaintiffs
So many possible claimants and lawsuits against the defending party exist that it becomes impractical for them to file individual suits. Frequently, the potential plaintiffs can number in the hundreds of thousands.
Class Members with Similar Claims
The claims of each class member all raise common legal and factual issues. This makes it much more efficient to combine them together into one class action. A common example of this is when thousands of claims exist against the manufacturer of a dangerous drug on the market.
Same Claims and Same Defenses Apply
This does not focus on the number of class members but on whether the claims of the “class representative” are typical of all those in the class. This means that the named plaintiff for the class action must generally have the same injury or interests as the other class members.
The Class Action Representative Protects the Class
This means that the plaintiff(s) named in the lawsuit and their lawyers must look out for the interests of the other class members.
Class action lawsuits can stem from different types of claims, such as unfair wage and hour claims, employment discrimination, product liability claims, claims of environmental contamination, securities fraud, and more.
Examples include lawsuits against Monsanto for consumer claims of cancer diagnoses related to its weed killer Roundup, the case against Pacific Gas & Electric based on claims of environmental contamination (made into the movie “Erin Brockovich”), and the early claims against the tobacco industry for hiding the dangers of cancer-causing cigarettes. Many of these lawsuits resulted in millions of dollars in compensation for the people harmed by these companies.
The Effectiveness of Class Action Lawsuits
Those who dislike class action lawsuits are the management of big companies that have armies 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.
Thus, class action lawsuits bring fairness to the playing field. Individuals who have been similarly harmed by the same corporate entity can band together, find a law firm, and file a lawsuit on behalf of the entire group.
Large corporations would rather fight consumers individually because most people cannot launch a major drug recall, consumer protection against defective products or environmental violations, or other lawsuits on their own. Class action lawsuits give consumers the leverage needed against companies that harm them through physical and economic injuries.