What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A Class Action suit is a civil (not criminal) lawsuit brought to the court by either one person or a group of people who represent a large number of victims in the claim. Plaintiffs are grouped together because they either all have a similar claim or have all suffered similar harm from the defendant.

What Constitutes a Class Action?

To be considered a class action lawsuit, the Lead Plaintiffs file the initial lawsuit and ask the court to certify the case as a class action. Working with their attorneys, the Lead Plaintiffs must prove that:

  • The claim against the defendant is of legal nature.
  • The group of people who have suffered similar side effects is of substantial size. All plaintiffs within the group must be filing a claim for similar side effects.
  • The Lead Plaintiff accurately represents the majority of the class and has a plan adequately reflecting the desired outcome of the trial. The Lead Plaintiff must not have conflict with any other member of the class.

What Happens if the Class Action Lawsuit Goes to Court?

If the lawsuit is approved for certification as a class act, all other class members will be notified by mail or internet. Everyone affected by the product will be automatically deemed a member of the class, unless they choose to opt out. Unless class members have evidence towards the claim, they do not need to take part directly in the case.

In conjunction with the class action attorneys, the Lead Plaintiff will represent the class and plan strategies and accept or reject settlement offers. This is why it’s important that the Lead Plaintiff honestly represents the needs of the other members of the class.
Once a settlement is reached, the court decides how the recovery charges are divided and distributed. The court calculates attorney costs and fees and Lead Plaintiff compensation, and the remaining amount will be divided among the class members.