When a group of people are experiencing the same legal issue, this could be grounds for a special type of lawsuit called a class action. From vehicle lease scams to loan discrimination, class actions are a valuable tool for groups to find justice. But every class action needs a dedicated team of class action lawyers to be successful. So, what is a class action, and what do these lawyers do?
A class action is a type of lawsuit that uses strength in numbers by allowing a group of people to file a lawsuit against a common defendant. Class action lawsuits are most often seen in consumer protection or employment situations. For example, a group of bank customers may sue their bank for violating a regulation that resulted in harm to their credit.
Class actions are a powerful and valuable tool for consumers. For example, if one bank customer receives an unlawful $100 overcharge from their bank, it would not be economical to bring legal action. However, if 1,000 other bank customers were also overcharged $100, they can band together as a group to pursue justice for everyone in the group and stop the bank’s unlawful behavior. And since many consumer class actions are handled on a contingency basis, there may be no out-of-pocket cost to the consumers.
So how do class actions start? Usually, class actions begin when a person or small group with a problem chooses to bring that problem to a team of class-action lawyers. The lawyers will evaluate the issue, and if they think it has potential for a class action, they will agree to represent that person or group.
To form a class action, four requirements must be met:
In a class action, the word “class” refers to the group of people who are being united by a common legal problem. There is not a specific minimum or maximum number of plaintiffs required for a class action, other than needing to meet the numerosity requirement. A class can be as small as 40 people, or well over a million. Most class members are not active parts of the lawsuit. In fact, some people do not know they are class members until a law firm contacts them after a case has been won.
Additionally, a class action must have at least one named plaintiff. This person will act as the class representative. Usually, this is the individual who first contacted the class action lawyers for help. The class representative has more responsibilities than other class members. Not only do they serve as the main representative for the victims in the case, but they will have to spend more time on the case. For example, they may be asked to help the lawyers collect documents, or they may have to participate in a deposition. However, if the lawsuit is successful, class representatives are also typically given an additional monetary service award by the court in recognition of their assistance in the case.
Class action lawyers are the attorneys that will guide the class representative through the lawsuit. They must have extensive knowledge and litigation experience to successfully navigate the intricate requirements and processes of a class action.
When looking for class action attorneys, start by looking for someone with experience in the right areas of law. For example, if you are having issues with false information in your credit report, a personal injury lawyer is not your best choice. Instead, look for a consumer protection lawyer, or even a credit dispute lawyer. Since most class actions are about protecting consumers or employees, finding the right type of lawyer is an important first step.
If you find a lawyer that looks promising, be sure to check if they have experience and success in class actions. It is essential that a potential class action lawyer have experience in the field to achieve the best results in a class action.
Before you contact the class action lawyers, ensure that you have compiled all the details regarding your situation. If there are relevant documents, it is a good idea to begin gathering these as well.
The Financial Justice Initiative was formed as a joint project between two prominent class action firms, Schlanger Law Group and Terrell Marshall Law Group with the goal of advocating for the rights of consumers. By teaming together, FJI now provides superior knowledge and experience to our class action clients across the country. If you believe you may be experiencing a situation that is grounds for a class action, contact FJI to schedule a free case consultation.