What is a class action?
A class action is a procedure allowing an individual ( the class representative) to sue on behalf of a class of persons when
- the issue(s) are common to all members of the class and
- the class is so large that it is too difficult to bring each claim individually before the court.
Class actions are often brought against corporations when they overcharge or otherwise mistreat many customers in the same way. They are brought against the manufacturers of defective products. They may also be brought against a company or its officers on behalf of a class of shareholders in the company. Some examples of class actions are: thousands of consumers purchase or use the same defective product; a telephone company or credit card bank overcharges thousands of customers pursuant to the same policy; employees experience age, sex or race discrimination; a drug or medicine used by many patients is suspected of having dangerous side effects; purchasers of a company’s stock or securities are injured because the company made fraudulent representations about its products or business prospects; consumers pay higher prices because of the anti-trust activities of large corporations.
A class action may be the only practical means of access to the courts for many people who have been damaged or injured.
When a defendant has engaged in a pattern of wrongdoing, a class action can provide an effective remedy for the members of the class, without incurring the costs of separate lawsuits and without risking inconsistent court decisions.
What are the benefits of a class action?
The class action promotes two principal goals. It provides a useful mechanism for prosecuting the claims of many persons whose injuries added together are significant, but which, individually, would not be large enough to justify the expense of bringing of individual lawsuits. It also prevents the clogging of the court system by allowing the similar claims of thousands of individuals to be adjudicated in one single action.
Can any case against a business be brought as a class action?
No. Generally, a class action is proper only where the issues common to the class outweigh the issues which are unique to individual members of the class. When a consumer or investor approaches Green Welling with a possible case, its attorneys make a preliminary determination as to the merits of filing a class action. Then, after the case is filed, the court determines whether it fulfills all the requirements of a class action, and whether the defined class may be “certified.”
Does the plaintiff have to pay the attorneys’ fees and legal expenses?
When you employ Terrell Hogan, there will be no hourly fees for you to pay. The only fee, ever, is based on our success at seeking justice for you, either by a settlement you authorize or based on a verdict and judgment in your favor. If there is no recovery, there is no fee, and you will not have to reimburse any expenses we paid to investigate and prosecute your case.
Are all class members forced to participate in the class action?
Generally, No. In most consumer and investor class action, after the court certifies the case as a class action, members of the defined class are given an opportunity to “opt out” and pursue individual actions against the defendant, if they so prefer. If, however, class members choose not to opt out, they are bound to the results of the case and automatically share in any recovery obtained for the class. There are exceptions to this general rule, such as when the relief sought is primarily injunctive and not monetary, where the court may certify the class on a “non-opt-out” basis.