A Brief Guide to Class Actions

by | Aug 6, 2014 | Lawyers

Whenever you watch TV, read the paper or get online, you will probably read or hear something about a class action suit -; but you may not understand how they work. A class action is an opportunity for a group of complainants to resolve a legal issue, whether it’s small or large. In this article, you will learn what’s behind those settlement notices you may occasionally receive.

What is a Class Action, and why are they Used?
If you have a claim connected to an issue with a service or product, but it isn’t practical to take the company to court, Edward L White PC Attorney At Law and joining a class action may be appropriate. Typically, a class action doesn’t start until a group of people encounter the same problem; issues are solved when group representatives go to court and get a settlement that benefits the entire class.

Class Action Types
Class actions are used in a variety of cases, such as:
1. Claims related to consumer services such as cable television, banking and phone
2. Product liability claims
3. Securities issues
4. Wage issues and workplace discrimination

Prerequisites for a Class Action
State and federal court rules govern Class Actions, which cannot take place until some requirements are met. There has to be such a large group of plaintiffs that it isn’t practical for each to file an individual suit, and everyone’s claim must be the same. Named plaintiffs have the same issues as other class members, and they must provide adequate and fair protection for the entire class.

Certification by the Court
For a suit to proceed as a class action, it must be certified by the court. If the above elements are present, and if a class action is the most effective management tool, the case will be certified. Typically, certifications are granted when the class wants the at-fault party to stop or start doing something.

The Next Step
Once a class action starts, the case may come to an end sooner or later than with a singular lawsuit. Most of the outcome depends on how vigorously the defendant protests the class’ claims, and upon how long it takes both sides to investigate that claim. Class Actions can go on for several years, and while a jury or judge may make the final decision, many class action suits end in a settlement.


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