What is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit (also known as a class action, class suit, or representative action) is a type of lawsuit where one person or a small group of people sues on behalf of a larger group of people who have all suffered the same injury or wrongdoing. The group brings a similar complaint against a defendant and is collectively represented by one member. This person is known as the class representative. The injuries or problems cited in the suit can be physical or financial and can range from concussions to deception or money lost due to defects or false advertisements. They can also include predatory lending schemes. A good example of a class action lawsuit is a defective drug that causes harmful side effects. Thousands of people may have suffered, and thus are entitled to the benefits of a lawsuit. When a decision is made, it applies to all other participating plaintiffs.
Common Types of Class Action Lawsuits
- Environment: Common types of suits such as pollution and clean water
- Finance: Common types of suits involve predatory lending or financial securities fraud
- Employment: Common types of suits such as sexual harassment or discriminatory pay
- Civil Rights: Common types of suits include unfair treatment of people with disabilities or fair conduct in police departments (a very good and well-known example is Brown v. Board of Education)
- Product Defects: Common types of suits involve vehicle defects
- Pharmaceutical: Common types of suits involve dangerous drugs and their side effects
How Does a Class Action Lawsuit Work?
The group of plaintiffs, all with similar complaints, are represented by one lead plaintiff. The class must be certified by a judge before the lawsuit can proceed. A lead plaintiff must demonstrate that all plaintiffs have a valid claim against the defendant and that the claims are similar. The lead plaintiff must also show that the suit can adequately represent everyone in the group. Typically, the group of plaintiffs are notified by mail after the suit has been filed. Even if they didn’t know about the suit, they are automatically included unless they opt out.
Advantages of a Class Action Lawsuit
There are many advantages to filing a class action lawsuit. Some of the most common are the following:
- Lower Litigation costs: Litigation costs are divided among all the members, and so the expenses are shared, usually costing the individual very little
- Greater judicial Efficiency: A class action is decided by one judge, therefore not wasting judicial resources
- Consistency of recoveries: One settlement is made, and each plaintiff receives a similar, consistent amount
- Opportunity for all plaintiffs to receive damages: A class action allows parties to recover damages at the same time and in proportion to their injuries
Consult a Class Action Lawyer in NJ
A class action suit can be started by anyone who has been harmed or injured by a particular person or entity in violation of the law. If you feel that you have been a victim of any of the above examples, speak to an attorney today. The attorneys at Davison, Eastman, Muñoz, Paone in Freehold, NJ can help you understand and build a comprehensive class action suit. For more information call us today.