Class Action Lawsuit Quick Facts:
- A class action lawsuit combines numerous suits where the plaintiffs have similar damages and complaints.
- In a class action case, one or two named plaintiffs “stand in” for the entire group of similarly aggrieved persons or firms during the course of the litigation.
- The named Lead Plaintiffs represent in addition to themselves, a large “class” or number of individuals and/or businesses is a similar situation to them.
- The individual interests of the named Lead Plaintiffs and all those similarly situated are at stake.
- By filing a class action lawsuit, plaintiffs have the combined power to confront wealthy corporations in a court of law. Class action lawsuits can address any issue covered by “typical” lawsuits: product liability, toxic exposure, and fraud.
The results in the class action case bind both the named plaintiffs (just as they would in ordinary litigation) and all other persons who were included in the class. Usually, potential class members have the option, after receiving notice, of excluding themselves from a class or class settlement, and pursuing the case on their own.
Corporate Strategies Against Class Action Lawsuits
Corporations often avoid class action consumer litigation by invoking a tactic involving arbitration to settle differences. An arbitration clause in a contract generally prohibits a consumer from filing any lawsuit in a court of law. In a lawsuit, people have much broader procedural protections and rights than in arbitration. But in arbitration, consumers may not be able to obtain full discovery of evidence, meaning that many frauds, lies, and deceptions may go undiscovered.
Even if a consumer finds an intentional pattern of fraud by a defendant, there is little that can be done in arbitration because arbitration clauses generally prohibit the resolution of any dispute as a class. Since no arbitration claims may be tried as a class action, the most the defendant could ever be held accountable for at one time is the claim of the individual who filed a demand for arbitration. Class Action lawsuits can be very complicated. We advise that you consult with an attorney to help you understand their legal rights.