As a certified attorney with experience in building strong class-action lawsuits, Alexander Petraglia knows it can sometimes be a daunting process. This is why he works closely with his clients to build the strongest possible case every time.
This article will offer a brief overview of class-action lawsuits and how one is generally filed.
What’s a Class-Action Lawsuit?
A class-action lawsuit—also called a class action, a class suit, or a representative action—is the means by which many individuals come together to hold a large corporation, business, or organization legally accountable for injuries or damages sustained by the group (or “class”) due to the company’s actions or negligence.
Class-action lawsuits often concern security and fraud, harmful products, and employment law violations by corporations.
How Is a Class Action Lawsuit Filed?
Class-action lawsuits offer legal relief to groups of individuals who a corporation wronged. There are several steps necessary to take toward opening a class-action lawsuit.
The Lead Plaintiff Must File Their Claim
The lead plaintiff, also known as the class representative, is the main class member in the case. They are usually the first to pursue legal action against a corporation, and they do so on behalf of many who have also endured the same injuries or damages.
The Lead Plaintiff Requests That the Court Certifies the Class
At this stage, the class needs to be officially recognized. First, all the plaintiffs must be part of a “significantly large” group in which members file similar claims against the business or organization (the defendant). For example, if all the class members were hurt in the same way by the same equipment, they have similar claims. If they each experienced vastly different injuries, they might not qualify as a class.
Secondly, the lead plaintiff must be representative of the other class members. Out of the many claims, theirs must be considered “a typical claim” among the group. Additionally, they can have no conflict with the other class members.
Third, the lead plaintiff must be prepared to fight for the entire class they are representing. They cannot be only looking out for their best interest as an individual.
Potential Members Are Notified
Once the claim is certified by the court, all potential members of the class should be notified. Direct mail, television ads, and internet posts are all common methods of informing potential members of a class that they may be entitled to compensation.
All members belonging to the class are automatically included unless they make it known that they want to opt-out of the case.
Member participation is not required in court. The lead plaintiff is the only one required to actively participate in court. However, other class plaintiffs may participate if they have additional evidence that the lead plaintiff does not possess.
The lead plaintiff is also the only member of the class able to decide whether or not to accept a settlement.
Recovery Amount Is Decided by the Court
If the case is successful, the court will decide on the recovery amount owed to the class members. This amount is to be divided among the plaintiffs (class members). The cost of attorney fees and other legal fees are deducted from this amount, and the lead plaintiff is paid first for their time and participation. The rest of the money is split evenly among the members of the class.
Get the Assistance You Need to File a Class-Action Lawsuit
If you’ve suffered damages that you believe entitle you to compensation from a business, corporation, or organization—and you believe there are others with the same experience—you may have the grounds on which to establish a class action lawsuit.
While the process is fairly straightforward, legal jargon and technicalities can make filing a difficult process. A licensed attorney that specializes in class-action lawsuits can help streamline the process and assist you in building a successful case.
About Alexander Petraglia
Alexander Petraglia is a licensed criminal defense, class action, and family attorney who views his relationship with clients as a sacred bond. He passed his bar admissions in 2015 and has been vigorously defending the rights of his clients ever since.
In the pursuit to perfect his trial skills and client care, Alex Petraglia attended and graduated from Gideon’s Promise Trial Program for public defenders, one of the top trial training courses in the country.