A class-action lawsuit is a claim or dispute filed by a group of people suffering similar loss or injury against one person or group of defendants. Typically, these are private companies, employers, and government entities.
The people filing for action lawsuits are represented by one or more ‘lead’ plaintiffs, and the lawsuit can only process when it’s certified by a judge.
Class-action lawsuits often fall into the following types:
- Personal Injury: Personal injury class actions are filed when a large number of people are harmed or injured by a defective product, such as prescription drugs, medical devices, and other harmful products. Personal injury could also be negligence that resulted in mass disasters.
- Consumer: This involves scams perpetrated by illegal businesses that hurt consumers.
- Employment: This refers to employee discrimination in the workplace. This also includes discrimination against injury suffered by an employee because of the company.
- Securities: This class-action lawsuit is filed by investors who bought and sold stocks under misleading statements of companies.
Reasons For Class-action Lawsuits
The number of plaintiffs required for a class-action lawsuit differs from state to state, but, typically, it should involve injuries of 40 or more people. You can file for a class-action lawsuit by visiting your state’s civil court where you’ll accomplish a form that’ll start the lawsuit.
You can also get in touch with a lawyer who’ll guide you and file the complaint on your behalf. It’s important to hire experienced lawyers because there are nuances in class action litigations and settlements that go further than one’s common knowledge of the law, which only an experienced class-action lawyer can tackle. Make sure to check for the lawyer or the firm’s track record of success as well.
If you simply want to join an existing class action, you can check the websites of established law firms or visit their office. The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates, for example, lists down cases by category, so you can easily check if you can join any of their class-action lawsuits. Check it here: https://www.sadakafirm.com/class-action-lawsuits/
Some of the most common class-action lawsuits involve the following:
As mentioned, defective products that cause harm may be a subject of a lawsuit. An individual may file a personal injury lawsuit or join a class-action lawsuit if there are many people affected by the same product who are also filing for a claim against the same product.
Class-action lawsuits may be filed against negligent pharmaceutical companies if a large number of people suffered from harm because:
- the company didn’t provide a complete list of the drug’s side effects;
- the company released inaccurate statements about the research and the potential hazards of a drug;
- the drug is defective and causes harm.
When a large number of people suffered from injuries that resulted from environmental crises, like pollution, water contamination, chemical spillage, and others, they may file class-action lawsuits against the company responsible.
A popular class-action lawsuit involving environmental harm is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill where the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
If a person, business, or other entities have intentionally caused monetary harm to their consumers, a class-action lawsuit may be filed if there are many victims.
This lawsuit addresses the violation of an individual’s civil rights. There are two types: unintentional (those resulting from negligence) and intentional.
The intentional kind addresses unconstitutional segregation and restriction based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and others. Examples are false arrest and wrongful eviction.
Unlawful practices in the workplace may be a subject of class actions. If an employer fails to pay the correct minimum wage, is involved in sexual harassment, or others that violate the right of a worker, employees may file a claim against the employer.
This involves data breach concerns that may affect up to millions of people, depending on the scope of the breach. Examples of a data breach that may affect a large number of people are identity theft and financial information hacking. The most notable case is the Yahoo! data breaches reported in 2016.
Class-action lawsuits tend to bring real changes as compared to individual lawsuits. Individually, plaintiffs will have difficulty taking on big companies with unlimited resources, but together, plaintiffs are stronger because filing as a group can level the field, hence challenging a big company or corporation will become easier.
The beauty of class actions goes beyond righting a wrong because the decision of the court impacts the whole society. Thus, the collective action of the plaintiffs benefits not just themselves but society as a whole.