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What You Need To Know About Class Action Lawsuits


February 18, 2015 | Comments (0)

What is a class action lawsuit?
Class actions allow one or even a few harmed individuals to represent a much larger group of harmed individuals in Court who have similar or common grievances against a defendant. Often, but not always, the amount sought through an individual lawsuit may be too small or may be too difficult to pursue. However, by banding together hundreds, thousands, or even millions of individuals through a “certified” class, small or difficult claims can be effectively and efficiently pursued. Companies who wrongfully “skim” a few dollars a month on their regular monthly statements billed to their customers, or businesses who sell products with common defects, or enterprises who cause environmental harms affecting individuals who live in an affected area are just a few examples of class action lawsuits.

What are some common types of class action cases?
David taking on Goliath becomes a fairer fight once a case is certified as a class action. Some examples of class action lawsuits are listed here.

  • Employment Class Actions- These lawsuits are often brought on behalf of a group of employees dealing with things like unpaid overtime, workplace safety issues, discrimination, or violations of Labor Code.
  • Consumer Class Actions- Consumers who are effected by illegal practices of a company, such as being subjected to penalties or charges that are not legally authorized, or a company’s failure to follow consumer protection laws.
  • Securities Class Actions- Investors who have been subjected to Ponzi schemes, misrepresentation and omissions of brokers, or have lost money due to the misappropriation of investor funds.
  • Product Liability Class Actions- Manufacturers have a duty to the public to provide products that are free from potential hazards. Product liability cases may include defective or unsafe products that were sold to the public and caused some kind of harm to the consumer.
  • Medical Device or Pharmaceutical Class Actions- Often advertised on television, these cases involve the improper use of medicine or medical devices that lead to serious injury, side effects, or even death.

Can I bring a class action claim?
The short answer is “yes,” assuming you are willing to represent a large group of persons, that you have no conflicts of interest with other class members, and that you meet other technical standards that would qualify you as a class representative.

I got a slip in the mail to be included in a class action lawsuit, what do I do next?
If you have received a mailing where you either can opt-in or opt-out of a class action lawsuit, the first step is to carefully read the notice. If the case is an “opt in” class action, you need to notify the appropriate person whose name and address is specified in the notice that you want to be a part of the lawsuit, assuming you wish to participate. Otherwise, you are not included in the lawsuit. If the case is an “opt out” lawsuit, you are automatically enrolled the lawsuit and you need not do anything if you wish to participate. However, even if you are automatically enrolled in the lawsuit, you still may have other requirements to submit your claim in order to receive your recovery. If you do not wish to participate, then you must follow the procedures as stated in the notice.

How do I choose an attorney in a class action lawsuit?
Most attorneys lack the proper credentials to have a case certified as a class action lawsuit. You should only look to an attorney who has class action experience. The attorneys at Cochran & Edwards have had over 25 years of experience in the successful handling of class action litigation. And they have achieved outstanding results for their clients in cases involving banking, insurance, credit rating, telecommunication, and cable industries. Call or email us if you believe you have a case, no matter how “small” you think it is. You may be surprised.

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Cochran & Edwards provides personalized legal services for Business Litigation, Personal Injury, Class Action Litigation, Estate Planning & Government Law.