At Lawyer Legion, we created a directory of attorneys involved in class action lawsuits. You can search these attorneys by state, city, or zip code. Find profiles for different class action lawsuit attorneys in a particular city or state. The profiles have information on the attorney's membership and leadership in legal organizations, speaking engagements at quality CLE seminars, and participation in specialty certification programs.
In a typical lawsuit, one or two plaintiffs will file suit against one or more defendants who are all connected to a single event or transaction. In class-action lawsuits, the breach of duty or an injury is suffered by a large population of people who all sustain a similar injury.
Class action lawsuits can involve a company or organization that legally mistreated a class of employees or a large group of vendors. In this type of class action case, each of the employees or vendors of the class suffered similar types of damage or injury.
Product liability cases can also be filed as class action lawsuits. For example, a class action lawsuit could involve a defective product which was widely circulated in commerce. If a company negligently designs a car tire with a propensity to fail and cause roll-over accidents, then a large group of people could be injured or killed in accidents caused by this defective product. Since the case involves a large population of people who all sustain a similar injury, a class action lawsuit could be filed.
A class action case is a lawsuit which seeks to represent a large population of people known as the class against a single defendant. The lead plaintiff in the case representatives the entire class of plaintiffs. Class actions exist at both the state and federal levels. Various rules and statutes distinguishes different types of class action lawsuits in state and federal court.
Class actions serve to make the judiciary more efficient and grant greater access to the courts for injured parties who, by themselves, could not pursue certain claims on an individual basis. Often times a single plaintiff does not have the financial strength or resources to take a large defendant through the process of discovery and trial. By sharing common issues of fact and law, class action lawsuits can streamline the judicial process by having one discovery phase and one main trial to determine liability.
If the plaintiffs prevail at the liability phase of the trial, then the parties can negotiate compensation. If no agreement is reached, then another trial on the issue of damages alone can be conducted. Class action lawsuits help the courts avoid sitations in which hundreds or thousands of injured or aggrieved plaintiffs would seek separate trials. Class action cases have a very efficient, single adjudication of liability.
Class action cases require four general elements. First, there must be ‘numerosity.’ Numerosity means that there are too many claimants to make individual prosecution of the claims feasible. Second, the claims must be similar in nature. Third, the lead plaintiff must hold a claim which is representative of the rest of the class. Finally, the lead plaintiff must be able to withstand the litigation process and to be able to prosecute the claim to its conclusion.
Class actions are very efficient mechanisms to settle disputes between thousands of injured parties against the same at-fault party and avoid inconsistent results by different courts conducting different trials on the same issues.
Many different types of legal issues can arise in class actions lawsuits. One of the primary defense strategies is to fight the certification by alleging that the group filing the attempted class action is not qualified as a class within the meaning and definition of that state or federal statute.
Another issue for class actions involves the opt-in or opt-out provision. If the court certifies the class and the suit is permitted to proceed as a class action, parties who hold claims must have the choice to participate as a class-member or to forego involvement and pursue the claim on their own as an individual or not at all. Class actions are either opt-in or opt-out. Typically you are ‘in’ the class and have a right to request to opt-out so you will not be bound by the decision or settlement of the class action.
As a member of a class action, you are technically represented by the attorneys for the lead plaintiff. You will be bound by the terms of any settlement or any judgment should the case proceed to trial. More often than not, class actions are settled though a mediation process with the establishment of a fund from which claims and counsel fees may be paid. Often times the settlement is a hybrid with the payment of some amount of damage money and in some cases, non-monetary compensation such as free services, repairs or even coupons for replacement goods or services.
Once a settlement is reached, a fairness hearing will be held. Notice of the fairness hearing will be sent to all known class members with published ads in various periodicals to provide notice to yet unknown class members. The fairness hearing gives a chance for all parties to file or voice objections to the terms of the settlement, the amount, the attorney’s fees and any other issue related to whether the settlement is a fair adjudication of all of the class member’s legal rights.
The attorneys for the successful lead plaintiff will be paid from the settlement fund on a contingency recovery basis. The attorneys must file a detailed motion seeking payment and the class and the Court have the opportunity to review it for reasonableness. A hearing will be held and the Court decides the amount of compensation and reimbursement for lead plaintiff’s counsel. Class members have the right to object to the amount of fees paid to counsel.
If you believe that you have a claim and that claim is common to a very large number of people who were injured or adversely affected by the actions of a single party, you will want to speak to an attorney with experience in bring class action lawsuits. The class action lawsuit can be brought in state or federal court.
The attorney should also be experienced in the substance of the claim. If the claim is related to personal injury from a defective product, you would want a civil trial or personal injury lawyer with experience in product liability cases. If the basis for the class action is a large breach of contract action against a bank or an employer, you would look for a contract lawyer or employment lawyer with experience in those types of cases.
Attorneys that bring class action lawsuits must have strong financial resources and sufficient staff and clerical support that is commensurate with the size of the class and the magnitude of the injury and damages.
Lawyers who focus on representing parties in class actions lawsuits typically work in large law firms, generally with a presence in multiple jurisdictions and states. The firms have lawyers who focus in the substances of the class action suit and other lawyers who specialize in the class action rules and procedural statutes. Class action representation is usually undertaken by a firm or multiple firms rather than by a single lawyer.
At Lawyer Legion, we created our online directory of personal injury attorneys focused on class action lawsuits. We help the public find a qualified attorney in a variety of practice areas. We organize attorneys according to the focus of their practice, their membership and leadership in legal organizations, and other objective factors.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.