A class action is a state or federal lawsuit in which a class of numerous plaintiffs, represented by a handful of named individuals, alleges a specific kind of wrongdoing on the part of a company, organization, or official.
Several criteria must be met before a judge agrees to bundle dozens or even hundreds or thousands of potential lawsuits into one, and a case that begins in state court is likely to get “removed” to federal court under certain circumstances.
There are clear advantages to consolidating cases into a class action, particularly when the potential compensation for each individual case is less than pursuing the case would cost in legal fees. Because class actions are so much more efficient, it is possible to prosecute cases that might not have seen the light of day because they did not warrant legal action on their own.
A variety of cases can be candidates for class action, from lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, to large employers accused of discrimination, to governments accused of civil rights violations, to manufacturers accused of making defective products, and more.
If you believe that someone has wronged you and a large group of people, a Cleveland class action lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC might be able to help you join or start a class action lawsuit. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping everyday people seek justice, even when they are up against powerful corporations. We never shy away from a tough fight. In addition, you will not pay us a dime unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
To schedule your free consultation, contact our offices today at (800) 709-1441.
Anatomy of a Class Action Lawsuit
Generally, you can file any of the following types of class-action lawsuits in the United States:
- Consumer rights: Claims for small economic losses, often involving excessive business fees, fraudulent business practices, or product defects.
- Securities and antitrust: These target anti-competitive business practices or fraud.
- Environmental: When an environmental hazard causes mass harm, this could be cause for a class action.
- Mass torts: Larger claims for personal injuries against corporations, in which the class status usually leads to a settlement.
- Civil rights: These also seek injunctive relief over issues such as school desegregation, voting rights, and prisoners’ rights.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 23—and the analogous Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 23—sets out four prerequisites for what qualifies as a class action case:
- The group of plaintiffs must be numerous.
- There are questions of law or fact common to the group.
- The claims of the representative plaintiffs represent the claims of the entire group.
- The representative parties will protect the group’s interests.
In addition, FRCP 23(B) says class actions should be certified in cases where:
- Individual lawsuits would create the risk of different judgments for members of the class or would inhibit the ability of the majority of class members to seek compensation.
- The defendant has “acted or refused to act on grounds that apply generally to the class.”
- The common questions of law or fact are more important than the questions affecting individual members of the class.
If you are wondering whether your case fits these criteria, schedule a free consultation with Ben Crump Law, PLLC today. We can tell you whether you qualify and if a Cleveland class action lawyer can help you.
For a free legal consultation with a class action lawyer serving Cleveland, call (800) 709-1441
Class Action Process
FRCP 23 says that “at an early practicable time” after an individual or individuals have filed a lawsuit as class representatives, the court must decide whether to certify the class. Part of the claims process is identifying a class counsel—if there is more than one attorney seeking to lead the lawsuit, the judge will decide which is best suited to do so—as well as whom the class comprises and what its claims are.
If the judge certifies the class, they will—depending on the kind of case—either decide how to notify class members or tell the class counsel to do so. To protect the class members’ interests, a case can only be settled, compromised, or voluntarily dismissed after the judge decides that the class representatives and the class counsel have adequately represented the group.
The court may give class members the opportunity to opt out of a settlement and pursue individual cases. The judge will also decide on appropriate attorneys’ fees and give class members a chance to object.
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State vs. Federal
Under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), any class action case filed in state court in which the expected request for damages will exceed $5 million or where any member of the class of plaintiffs lives in a different state than the defendant is grounds to get the case removed to federal court. The case does not need to be certified as a class action before a federal court can intervene.
One example of a class action case likely to remain in state court is mentioned in Ohio Revised Code §3501.90: A voter who is harassed at the polls can seek an injunction or other relief against every person who harassed them. If multiple people were harassed, they can seek to certify as a class.
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How We Can Help
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we are not afraid to take on big cases and big corporations. Ben Crump Law, PLLC is known throughout the country for fighting injustice, and that spirit is present throughout the firm.
If you believe a big company has wronged you—and perhaps a whole group of people—even if you do not know if your case on its own is worth taking to court, consider consulting with a Cleveland class action lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC. You will not pay anything unless we win a settlement or judgment. Call our offices today at (800) 709-1441.
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