We've all heard the term “class action lawsuit” in the news, and many people have a general sense of what the term means, but only a hazy sense of who can bring a class action, what a class action can be about, and so on. And when you've been injured by a large defendant, you may wonder if you have the grounds for a class action or if you can join a class action. Below, we take you through a few brief overview of what class action lawsuits are, and how they may be brought.
Class Actions Defined
A class action is a lawsuit that can be brought in state and federal court in which a large number of plaintiffs (a “class” of plaintiffs) have their claims represented by one or more “named plaintiffs” in a single action against a defendant that has allegedly injured the class of plaintiffs in a similar manner. In order to successfully win a class action suit, the court overseeing the case must “certify” the class. In order to certify the class under federal law, the court will have to find that four requirements are met:
- Numerosity: There are enough plaintiffs that it would be overly difficult to have each plaintiff representing himself or herself in the case.
- Commonality: There must be questions of law or fact that are common to the entire class.
- Typicality: The named plaintiff bringing the case must have a claim typical of those in the class.
- Adequate Representation: The named plaintiff and their lawyers must be able to vigorously prosecute the case.
Who Can Bring a Class Action?
Based on the four above requirements, a named plaintiff in a class action therefore must have a claim that shares common issues of law and/or fact with a sufficiently large group of plaintiffs (courts look for at least 20 to 40 plaintiffs as a minimum for a class), and be able to demonstrate to the court that he or she and their attorney can adequately represent that class.
Can a Class Action Be About Anything?
State and federal laws do not limit the types of class actions that can be brought by subject matter, but class actions are most often brought in the following types of areas:
- Medical device defects
- Defective pharmaceutical products
- Automotive defects
- Consumer good defects (electronics, appliances, etc.)
- Employment law matters (e.g., wage and hour violations)
- Service/subscription agreements
- Banking/lending/credit card matters
How Do I Start a Class Action Suit?
If you have been injured by a defendant, and you have reason to believe that there are a significant number of other plaintiffs who have been injured by the same defendant in a manner that is factually similar to the way you were injured, you may be able to commence a class action suit. Because it is your attorney and not you who will do the heavy lifting of filing the suit and organizing the class, you should contact an experienced, trustworthy class action suit as soon as possible.
Herrington Law in Jackson, Mississippi has become a class action leader because of its constant focus on what matters most: obtaining justice for individual plaintiffs who have been wronged by defendants. We have built strong relationships over the decades with co-counsel across the country, all in pursuit of providing outstanding outcomes for the people who matter most: our clients. Contact us to set up a free consultation today.