You may have heard of class action suits before, but many people are not completely clear on what a “class action” is. This article gives a brief overview of the kind of litigation termed class actions.
What is a Class Action? A class action is a kind of legal suit where someone is sued on behalf of a group of people. In these cases, “class” is used to mean “group”. The group of people are united by their issues with the people or companies they are suing. For example, a class of neighborhood residents may want to sue a company that polluted their drinking water.
Class actions can be used in many different kinds of suits. For example, a product liability suit can be a class action if many people were harmed by the same improperly made product. The people that are injured will be represented by one firm that will argue the case on behalf of all of them and any money recovered would be split up among class members in a way that has previously been agreed on. Some recovery is divided equally among members while for other classes it is allocated based on severity of injury.
Legal Requirements for Class Action There are very specific legal requirements for a class action suit. In order for a class action suit to move forward, the court must first approve the class and make sure that the suit fits the legal requirements. Some of the things that need to be proven for a class to be approved is that: the plaintiffs are so numerous that it would be impractical to have individual suits, the class members have a common issue, and the members that are representing the class are typical of the rest of the class. There also must be an affirmative reason why a class action is the preferable course of action.
Reasons for a Class Action Suit instead of Traditional Lawsuit There are many different reasons that a class action suit may be used instead of a traditional single plaintiff lawsuit. Class actions are often chosen when the individual damages to each person are too small for any one of them to sue individually. For example, if you buy a low cost product that misrepresents its size on the package, it would not make sense or be financially viable to hire a lawyer and move forward in a lawsuit when the damage is only a few dollars. However, it may be worth it the suit is on behalf of the two million people who also bought the product because the damages will be enough to recoup the costs of the litigation.
Another time that class actions are especially useful is when there is some kind of pollution or other environmental toxin that has injured or sickened people. The cost of this kind of litigation can be enormous and it can also be difficult to prove that a specific toxin caused a certain injury. A class action suit can help to prove a link between the toxins and the injury and also potentially be able to provide enough damages to make it worth the litigation expenses. Courts often like class actions for the judicial economy.
Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia Class Action Attorneys If you think that you have a case that could make a good class action suit, you will want the most skilled attorneys on your side. Our skilled attorneys at Kenneth J. Annis and Associates serve Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia and can help you with any potential class actions suits you may have. Contact us today.