Class action lawsuits are brought by one person on behalf of many people who otherwise would have filed the same lawsuit on their own. The ruling in the class action lawsuit applies to everyone in the class.
Class action lawsuits bring efficiency to the legal system, relieving overburdened courts and benefiting all in the class who may have trouble bringing a claim against a powerful company on their own. The following is a breakdown of the process of pursuing a class action lawsuit.
The class action process
The first step in the class action process is to file a complaint. Like other civil actions, this is the document that starts the case. The plaintiff in a class action lawsuit is named as “your name, on behalf of other similarly situated plaintiffs.”
In the complaint, you allege the defendant’s wrongdoings and why they entitle you to damages. In addition, you will allege how the defendant’s wrongdoings impacted others in the class.
Second, the class must be certified by the court. To do so, you will file a motion for certification, that defines the class and states how your case meets Rule 23, which defines the requirements for being considered a class.
When certification is granted, you will then notify class members. If the class members are known, notification can be sent via mail or email. If the class members are not all known, notification can be posted in the newspaper, in magazines and online.
Following that, a class action lawsuit proceeds in the same manner as other civil cases. Parties will undergo discovery, make motions and the case will ultimately be settled with the approval of the court or go to trial.
Class action lawsuits bind the class
The outcome of your class action lawsuit binds the entire class. If you prevail, all members in the class will receive compensation. If you do not prevail, the individual class members are barred from bringing an action against the defendant on their own.
Class action lawsuits are a way for many proverbial Davids in a class to take on Goliath. However, class action lawsuits are complex, and the outcome of the lawsuit can affect many. Those who want to learn more about filing a class action lawsuit can seek the advice of an attorney who can describe the anatomy of a class action lawsuit.