Class Action Claims

Sometimes you’re not the only one who’s suffered harm through the unlawful conduct of another party. There can be strength in numbers.

When those individual claims are common among numerous people, there may be an opportunity to bring a class action. This procedure is especially useful when individual claims do not monetarily justify bringing and pursuing a single case.

Sometimes you’re not the only one who’s suffered harm through the unlawful conduct of another party. There can be strength in numbers.

When those individual claims are common among numerous people, there may be an opportunity to bring a class action. This procedure is especially useful when individual claims do not monetarily justify bringing and pursuing a single case.

Class Action Lawsuit Lawyers Who Seek Maximum Compensation

Most often, a legal matter affects only one or a few people. A typical car wreck, for instance, can affect you, the other driver, and maybe a passenger or bystander.

But sometimes, a person or entity’s wrongful conduct can create a much larger number of victims harmed in the same way. When a large number of people are affected in the same way by a common defendant’s wrongful conduct, they may be able to assemble together through a class action. This approach allows the claims to be heard together.

This wrongful conduct could be due to:

  1. Breach of contract;
  2. Violations of privacy rights; or
  3. Disregard for consumer rights

Unfortunately, these examples are far from an exclusive list.

What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

Short Answer: When a large number of people were affected in the same way by the same unlawful conduct of a defendant, they may be able to band together as one class. This is more practical and more efficient. If, however, many people were hurt by the same defendant – but suffered different levels or types of injuries – they’ll likely have to bring lawsuits one by one.

Long Answer: Imagine a company sells a product, say a medical device like a surgical stapler. Now, imagine the product is defective and causes a lot of damage across hundreds of surgeries. Everybody who was injured by the faulty medical device might sue the manufacturer, but they’ll probably need to do it individually.

Why? One person might have been seriously injured or even died from infection. Another patient might have suffered only a mild injury that was quickly resolved. In short, while the source of the issue was the same for everyone, the way it played out was different for everyone. In such instances, it makes no sense to put everybody in one class, pretending that common issues predominate over individual ones.

The courts have decided that such distinctions among individual claims render those claims “unclassable.” Instead, we refer to all those individual cases as a mass tort.

Now, imagine a lender offered a great interest rate to customers. Hundreds of customers accept the offer, but months later the bank dishonors the terms. All these people were wronged by the same person, and also were affected in the same way: they reasonably expected a particular financial benefit, but didn’t get it.

Since proving the case once will effectively prove it for the hundreds or thousands of other claims, both the law and common sense say you should only be required to prove it once to get justice for all those impacted (instead of clogging up the court with many individual cases). And figuring out what’s owed is relatively straightforward. If it was, for example, a benefit worth $500 and 100 people were wrongfully denied, you have the beginnings of a relatively formulaic way of figuring out compensation. That’s what we call a class action lawsuit.

Still not clear? Don’t feel bad, it confuses some lawyers, too. Here are two more examples:

Example A (not a class action):

An earplugs manufacturer for the military distributes earplugs that are supposed to protect soldiers’ hearing from the sounds of battle. Unfortunately, the earplugs don’t work and thousands of people are affected. However, they were all affected differently: some soldiers had pre-existing conditions that made them susceptible to hearing loss, or their hearing loss was age-related. Others without those factors lost their hearing completely due to the faulty earplugs. These individual variations mean each soldier will have to show if and how they were affected.

Example B (class action): A plant discharges toxic chemicals into a public water supply. Toxic chemicals affect everyone using the water supply (for example, the contamination requires all the property owners to purchase water filtration systems, fix contaminated pipes, and purchase bottled water). Since one trial can create a solution for everyone, it makes sense to put all victims in one class and only go through a single trial.

Tip: Even when a class action is authorized, individuals who feel they have different injuries than the rest of the class may opt out of the class action and pursue a claim individually.

What Are the Steps of a Class Action Lawsuit?

The most important step is that a judge must authorize the class action. Here are some questions the judge will consider in making their determination:

  • Are there sufficient numbers of people affected, warranting class treatment?
  • Are there so many people impacted by the defendant’s wrongdoing that it would be inefficient or impossible to seek justice individually?
  • Are the class representative’s claims typical of the class members as a whole?
  • Will the class representative adequately serve the best interests of the class?
  • Do the class claims present questions in which common issues predominate over individual ones?

How Long Does a Class Action Lawsuit Take?

Class actions are usually complicated, vigorously defended, and require a longer time to resolve than individual suits. Many take years, although a few are resolved within several months. Because the defendant’s potential liability is often immense, a contentious legal battle is likely to ensue. These are a few of the many reasons to identify an experienced and skilled class action lawyer for your case.

Tip: The end result of a successful class action might not come in the form of direct financial compensation. The outcome may be an agreement by the wrongdoer to discontinue their actions.

How Much Can Lead Plaintiffs Get in a Class Action Lawsuit?

In a class action, at least one individual agrees to represent the “class” and serve as the class representative (the “lead plaintiff”). Class actions must first be certified. Once that happens, the case is often in a posture which promotes settlement.

For this work and effort, the class representative may receive an “incentive” payment if the case is resolved. That payment is discretionary and varies in amount, reflecting the level of the class representative’s involvement in the case.

What Are the Steps of a Class Action?

A class action case starts with a complaint, evidence is gathered, may go to trial & ends in settlement.

Dividing the Money

Money from a successful class action is allocated according to the following process:

  • A settlement for class members is reached
  • The parties move for preliminary approval from the judge
  • If preliminary approval is granted, a fairness hearing is scheduled before final approval
  • The fairness hearing provides an opportunity for class members to object to the settlement or opt out to pursue an individual claim
  • This hearing is also when attorney’s fees and an incentive payment for the class representative are considered
  • The judge authorizes a final settlement

Calculating the Attorney’s Fee

Class action lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis. If the class action is unsuccessful, the lawyers receive no attorney’s fee. If the class action is successful, the attorneys will submit to the judge an accounting of their time and expenses. The judge will review the submitted numbers, evaluate levels of effort and success, and reach a figure considered fair. This is how the final attorney’s fee is determined.

Wait, When Does a Case Make a Good Class Action Again?

Do the victims have a common claim, or are there too many individual variations? Let’s say a credit card company violates laws on debt collection by harassing individuals whose debts have been discharged. Everybody was hurt the same way: the distress of being endlessly hounded.

Proving the company’s wrongdoing once entitles all who were harassed similarly to an appropriate share of the proceeds – without everyone having to prove the same set of facts and effects over and over. Individual actions might not be worth it, but an effective class action can force the wrongdoer to make class members whole through compensation.

How to Choose a Class Action Lawyer

Only you can decide if you feel compatible with an attorney and their firm. It’s important to feel comfortable enough to be completely honest with your advocate.

Class action lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. In the end, however, the court must approve the attorney’s fee. In any event, our firm’s class action clients are not required to pay any fees, costs, or expenses.2 They are simply expected to participate in the case and act in the best interests of the class.

Traits to Look for in a Class Action Lawyer

Experience | For a complex cases with high stakes, you need advocates in your corner with the knowledge and skill to square up to powerful adversaries.

Resources | This is too big to take on alone. Your team should have the human and financial resources to sustain a lengthy and aggressive fight.

Focus on Your Interests | You need a legal team first committed to justice instead of their own interests. You must trust that your attorneys will stay the course to try and maximize recovery instead of settling prematurely.

How Our Class Action Lawsuit Lawyers Can Help You

The James Scott Farrin Advantage

  1. Many of our 50+ attorneys are recognized professionals in their fields. They’ve won awards, authored books, and teach seminars for other attorneys. We may have the experience you need to handle every facet of your class action case.
  2. Our proprietary and advanced case management software and systems allow us to handle the often mind-boggling logistics of class action lawsuits.
  3. So that you know your class action lawsuit is getting the attention it demands, we have a dedicated team for these types of cases – led by award-winning trial attorneys Hoyt Tessener and Gary Jackson. They are ready to fight for you every step of the way.

Class Actions: Historical Success1

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin played a lead role in one of the largest civil-rights cases in U.S. history;

Class Actions: An Eye on the Future

North Carolina State Retirees Class Action Lawsuit – Currently Ongoing

Battle-tested advocate Gary Jackson is working with a team of class action lawyers to try to restore retirement health benefits to more than 220,000 North Carolina state retirees. The class action alleges that, as former employees of the state of North Carolina, these retirees were contractually promised health benefits, only to have them taken away.

First Plaintiffs Victory

Gary and his team have taken a giant step forward on behalf of the plaintiffs. In 2016, Judge Ed Wilson ruled that the retirement health benefits are contractual and that the state of North Carolina breached their contract when the class members began to be charged higher health insurance premiums.1

GenX Contamination Class Action Lawsuit – Currently Ongoing

We’re already fighting to try to hold the makers of GenX accountable. In 2017, our firm filed suit against The Chemours Company and DuPont for contamination of the Cape Fear River water supply with GenX, an “emerging contaminant” according to the EPA. The toxin was first detected in the river in 2012 at a level nine times higher than the EPA considers safe. The class action seeks compensation for property-related economic damages.

Free Case Evaluation

If you need a class action lawsuit lawyer to help you understand your rights, we can help. Depending on your situation, you may be able to file an individual claim, which can resolve more quickly than a class action. At our firm, we can advise you whether or not we think your situation would be more effectively advanced by an individual lawsuit or a class action.

We have the experience and resources to handle your case. Call 1-866-900-7078, contact us online, or chat for a free case evaluation.

 

Class action cases are often heard in other states or federal courts. For this reason, our James Scott Farrin class action lawsuit attorneys work closely with other law firms nationally to try to make sure clients have the legal representation they need.