What Are The Requirements For Getting A Class Action Certified

A class action involves one or several defendants being sued by numerous plaintiffs in cases where it is impractical for all plaintiffs to be part of one traditional personal lawsuit. A class action suit is filed by one or a couple of representative plaintiffs who also conduct the litigation to seek out a judgement that all class members will benefit from. The other potential plaintiffs are contacted to provide them with the opportunity to opt out of the class action lawsuit, or are provided with instructions on how their share of the damage award can be received.

Requirements For Getting A Class Action Certified

Before a class action may proceed, the class has to be certified first. The process ensures that there are enough similarities among the plaintiffs for litigation to proceed against the named defendant(s) as part of one large case.

Although there may be variations to these requirements from one state to the next, a majority of states have the following class action requirements:

Number of Plaintiffs

A class action lawsuit is not intended for a case where there are just a couple of plaintiffs. Rather, there has to be too many lawsuits and plaintiffs against a specific defendant to the point that it wouldn’t be practical for each of them to file a separate individual lawsuit. There are numerous class action lawsuits with hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs. There have also been many cases that have certified classes with 40 plaintiffs.

Common Questions of Fact or Law

A class must have similar questions of fact or law that are common to its class. That is to make sure that one case can efficiently handle all the claims.

Typical Claims

Defenses or claims by the representative plaintiff must be typical of the class. For instance, if it has been alleged by the lawsuit that a business has imposed additional fees illegally on customers, then it is required that the representative plaintiff be an account holder with the business that has allegedly overcharged the fee. The claim by the representative plaintiff needs to be very similar to the claims being made by other class members so that litigating the case brought by the representative plaintiff will decide the class sufficient for all of the other absent class members.

Interests of the Class are Adequately Protected

The representative plaintiff must have the ability to adequately and fairly protect the interests of the entire class. The class lawyers and representatives must consider the entire class’s interests. Courts consider the competence of the representative plaintiffs and lawyers.


Subclasses might be established if some parties in the class have interests that are different than some of the other class members interests. Each of the subclasses is required to have their own representative for the class action.

Other Criteria

There might be other criteria at times. For example, it is essential for the class to be clearly defined so that it may be determined which people are members of the class and which are not. Also, there could be a judicial efficiency requirement, which means that is must be determined that the most efficient way for resolving the claims is through a class action.
A case will be dismissed if the case isn’t certified. If it is certified, then the case will move to pre-trial procedures.

After a class is certified, all potential class members must be notified of the class action lawsuit. Many types of class actions will include information on the potential class member’s right to opt out of this class. However, you usually are not allowed to opt out of the class action in order to pursue your own individual claim.

The Basics Of A Class Action

A class action is kind of a civil suit that is brought about on behalf of multiple people who are similarly affected by a situation. In simple terms, a class-action lawsuit is titled as such because there is a class of people who are in a substantially similar circumstances and they get together to form a class in order to get relief through the lawsuit. Such class-action lawsuits have gained a lot of popularity over the past decades years and there also have been many movies made on the relief brought about by such class-action lawsuits.

Some of the common examples of class-action lawsuits include lawsuit filed by workers of the company to get a judgment against illegal hiring or salary practices. Similarly, class-action lawsuits are usually filed against drug companies when they make illegal claims about a product that results in physical damage or severe harm.

One of the most common causes of class-action lawsuits is securities claims. For instance, a company issues a false press release that causes the stock price to move up substantially but the stock price dives below the original price when the truth comes out. The stockholders who bought the shares of the company after reading the deceptive press release issued by the company may get together and bring about a class action against the company to get relief due to the loss caused as a result of the action of the company.

An individual joining a class-action lawsuit is usually required to sign papers wherein he or she declares that they forfeit the right to sue the other party as an individual. If the lawsuit is successful, damages are awarded to the plaintiffs suing the company. In many cases, all the class members are not given equal compensation from the damages obtained. In these class-action lawsuits, the lawyers usually work on a contingency basis.

A contingency fee arrangement means that they work for free for their clients but they do get a portion of the damages awarded by the court. However, their clients are under no obligation to pay any fees in case the suit is unsuccessful. In some cases, the reward for the lawyers can go up to 50% of the total awarded damages but in many cases, it may be as low as 30%.

As far as the damages awarded in a class-action lawsuit are concerned, these are usually split into compensatory and punitive damages. The compensatory damages, as the name suggests, are awarded to address the actual damages caused by action of the defendants such as suffering, pain, loss of life or illness. There is also punitive damages which, as the name suggests, are a type of punishment for the defendants who have committed the illegal acts that have resulted in harm. In many cases, punitive damages are extremely high where the lawyers are able to demonstrate that the defendants have shown utter disregard for the safety, health as well as emotional well-being of the sufferers.

The class-action lawsuit may be settled prior to trial or may also become jury trials. Direct mediation is also accepted in many cases. Mediation or settlement means that the plaintiffs and defendants do not have to go through the costly process of jury trial and they mutually agree to the damages. One of the biggest problems with jury trials is that a company can always appeal the decision, and the appeal process usually last for years which results in a very long period of weight for the plaintiffs before they can see any money. In some cases where huge punitive and compensatory damages are awarded, the company may also declare bankruptcy to avoid paying any compensation to the plaintiffs.

What Exactly Are Class Action Settlements

You have probably heard of class-action lawsuits that are discussed on the news every year. They are talking about multimillion-dollar lawsuits or in some cases multibillion-dollar suits, that are settled in or out of court. These lawsuits are typically against very large multibillion-dollar corporations that have produced a product which has led to significant injuries or death. As a result of compiling this information, law firms can present this information before a judge to request, and subsequently obtained, a settlement. Here is how class-action lawsuits work and why they can be very successful in helping people be compensated because of flaws in specific products that they have used which have resulted in injuries.

How Do Class-Action Lawsuits Begin?

These lawsuits will begin by amassing information about certain companies that have produced products, such as pharmaceutical drugs, where adverse reactions have occurred. For example, certain drugs have led to people requiring certain treatments, or even amputations, as a result of the side effects that the drugs will produce. Some toys are made for children of certain ages, but there can be complications. The same is true for the car industry which will be sued because of certain components within their vehicles which have malfunctions, leading to substantial problems. Once they have gathered this information, the attorneys will then prepare a case that they will present to a judge. If the judge agrees with them, then the company will have to pay a substantial amount of money to compensate everyone that has been injured as a result of using their products.

How Long Do Class-Action Lawsuits Last?

Class-action lawsuits can last anywhere from a few months to several years. It could involve as few as five or 10 people, or it could involve thousands of individuals. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most well-known regarding these lawsuits. They produce many different chemically based treatments, and despite substantial testing, there can always be problems. If several people have died, this is usually a lawsuit that will go through, and the settlement that is requested will be granted. This could take several months, but it if is more complex, people are typically looking at two or three years for them to be completed.

Why Do They Take A Long Time

They take quite a long time because of how much data needs to be collected. People cannot simply say that the drug that was used, or the product that cause the problem, is the reason people were injured. They need to have multiple cases where people were injured in the same way by the same products. From there, they must gather all of the information related to these products to build the case. From there, they will then contact people that may have taken the drug, or use the product in question. Based on their findings, they can then collect information or testimonials from these individuals who will serve as the foundation for the arguments they will present in court.

The process may take a long time because of preparations, information gathering, and legal proceedings. However, especially for those that were part of the initial lawsuit that sustained the most damage, this could lead to millions of dollars in settlement money. That’s why people are very quick to express any problems they may have had with certain drugs that are currently in the midst of this type of investigation. They could end up receiving money because of problems they have experienced due to the flaws inherent in these products. If everything is presented appropriately, with enough mounting evidence, there should be no problem for the attorneys at obtaining a settlement for their clients. You can always find class-action attorneys that may need your information. By the end of the year, it might be possible for you to either receive your money or at least have a better idea of when this process will be completed.

Can Anyone File A Class Action Lawsuit?

When a class action lawsuit is filed, many people do not realize how difficult the process is. It is one that can take several years to just collect the evidence. Lawyers, in particular, are going to be monitoring the drugs that are released by pharmaceutical companies. They will also look at medical equipment that is used. In addition to this, there are companies such as car manufacturers that have had uncountable parts fail, some of which have led to fatalities. Those that are watching these events, if they are lawyers, can start to form class-action lawsuits. Not everyone can file a class-action lawsuit. Let’s discuss who these people are, and what their qualifications need to be.

How Does A Class Action Lawsuit Start?

It begins with trying to determine if there is a case or not legally. Just because someone has been injured by a product, or has died, that does not necessarily mean that the product itself is faulty. What they will need to do is to research, looking for similar cases where people have had problems in certain ways. For example, if someone has kidney problems as a result of using a specific pharmaceutical drug, and multiple people have the same issue, this is grounds for this type of lawsuit.

Will It Take Them Long To Set This Up?

Discovery is the process that many lawyers will use to gather information. As the name would indicate, they are discovering whether or not they have a case that they can follow through with. They will gather information in the form of newspaper clippings to follow these reports, and then they will gather information from medical doctors and physicians. From there, they will start to look at the manufacturing process. They will find out how everything is made. Based on this information, and info that is derived from experts in these industries, they can then eventually determine if they have a case. This could take months to do, or it could take years. It always depends on the product that is in question.

Will It Take Long To Receive The Settlement?

It’s not going to take very long to receive the settlement once the judge has ruled in favor of the lawyers that are filing the lawsuit. It will probably be no more than a few weeks, although it is possible that it may take several months, or as long as a year, for the company to gather all of that funding. The judge will determine it as to when the money should be paid out. Once they have done this, the company in question must comply. In addition to this, through the process of discovery, the lawyers may discover many other people were also afflicted. They will often advertise in papers, and on national television, looking for other people that can be part of the class action lawsuit. Although this could take many more months, it will likely be worth the wait because the amount of the settlement will be much higher.

In conclusion, only an attorney can file a class-action lawsuit. Individuals cannot do this on their own. They can bring this information to the attention of an attorney that has filed class-action lawsuits before. They are better off to find one that has been successful with products similar to the ones that they are questioning. Once the information has been gathered, it’s simply a matter of time before the case is heard before the judge. If all goes well for the attorneys, the class-action lawsuit will lead to what could be millions, or even billions, of dollars as a result of filing this lawsuit.