If you’ve experienced damages or injuries caused by a company or any other entity, filing or joining a class action lawsuit can help you get the proper compensation for your claims and/or personal injuries.
What makes a class action lawsuit?
In a class action lawsuit, you join several other people who have similar claims or personal injuries as you to file a case against a defendant. This can be your employer, your bank, a retailer you used to patronize, a manufacturer of goods, or even a government agency.
By banding together, you form a class which is considered a single plaintiff. A lead plaintiff or class representative files the lawsuit and leads the group for the certification of the class.
Examples of class action lawsuits
Class action lawsuits come in many forms depending on the laws violated. They can also be filed and heard in a federal or state court, or both. Here are some examples to give you a better idea.
- Employment class action lawsuits
When an employer makes an unreasonable request to a large number of employees or treats them unfairly, the employees can come together and start a class action lawsuit.
- Failure to disclose side effects
Another class action scenario is when pharmaceutical companies don’t disclose the potential side effects their prescription or over-the-counter drugs might cause. Manufacturers are held liable if they are aware of these side effects yet do not warn doctors or pharmacists about it. This class action can also be applied to defective medical devices.
In terms of finance, investors or shareholders of a company that has suffered economic losses due to the management’s fraudulent stock manipulation and other unsuitable investment practices can file a securities or investor fraud class action.
Antitrust class actions are filed against those who are in direct violation of antitrust laws. Reasonable grounds include price fixing, fraud, and eliminating competition.
Filing a class action lawsuit
Talking to a lawyer who specializes in class action lawsuits is the first step you need to take. They will review the issue and help the group draft a complaint, which should contain the allegations against the defendant.
The group (now referred to as “class”) should also formally appoint a class representative or lead plaintiff. Their responsibility is to file the complaint. This will be served to the defendant.
Before the case can proceed as a lawsuit, the class must be certified by a court. The lead plaintiff must present the following information to the judge:
- The number of people in the class
For a class action lawsuit to be justifiable, there must be a relatively large number of people who have been physically or financially affected by the defendant. For the best possible outcome, a class should have at least 40 to 50 class members.
Having a group that’s large enough shows the court that filing individual lawsuits is impractical and inefficient compared to filing a class action.
- Common questions of law and fact
The lead plaintiff must prove that the class has suffered the same problems or issues caused by the defendant. They should also underline the legal facts that tie all of the allegations together.
- Representation and protection of the class
To ensure the protection of the class’ interests, the judge will evaluate the lead plaintiff and their attorney. Is the interest of the entire class taken into consideration? Does the chosen attorney have the necessary experience in handling class action cases? Is the attorney knowledgeable about the subject matter?
- Class member identification and notification
The judge may also inquire about the lead plaintiff’s plans on notifying other class members about the lawsuit. Class members are typically notified through mail and email. Newspaper ads, television advertisements, and other forms of media are also used.
Based on the information given, the judge will then decide to certify a proposed class or otherwise. If the class is certified, the case can proceed as a class action lawsuit. If it isn’t, the case is dismissed.
Work with the best class action attorneys in San Diego
When it comes to class action lawsuits in San Diego, Hogue & Belong can provide you with personalized legal care and service.