In cases where a significant amount of time and effort is required to go through the process of suing a large, wealthy organization, litigants may find that a class action suit is the most appropriate legal recourse. A class action suit involves a group of plaintiffs combining their resources to take legal action against a larger organization they believe has wronged them.
To enact a class action suit in the United States, the following must be proven:
- The group of people harmed is so large that it would be impractical to conduct individual cases; and
- Common issues exist in each case, and the attorneys will be able to adequately represent all parties within the class action.
Once these initial prerequisites have been established, it is important to understand the legal components of the class action suit itself.
Filing the Case
The filing of the class action lawsuit begins with the legal team analyzing all the available information to determine if a case can be made. Once the case been established, the suit is then filed by the group’s lawyer.
After filing the case with the relevant authorities, they will then determine the parameters for the case. A judge will determine whether the case qualifies for a class action. During this phase, the authorities may suggest that discovery is required to go over pertinent evidence.
Once the case has been certified and the judge has ruled on the parameters of the class action, the defendant will have the opportunity to express their objections. They might object to the validity of the claim or the appropriateness of the plaintiffs as the class representatives.
Once the defendant has had the opportunity to object and their objections have been heard by a judge, the case is then announced to the general public. This gives all potential parties who are affected by the issues in the case but are unaware of the litigation the opportunity to join the class action lawsuit and receive compensation.
Often, the defendant in the lawsuit will settle the case out of court, providing some form of compensation to the plaintiffs. If they refuse to settle, their case may then go to trial – a process which can take months, sometimes years, to resolve. Upon resolution either by settlement or trial, the judge must approve the final disbursement to the plaintiffs to make certain the parties are being fairly compensated.
Download Our Free eBook on
the Basics of Incorporation in Georgia