A class action lawsuit is when a group of people suffer similar injuries as a result of the same wrongful action. When people with same or similar injures group together, the value of the lawsuit adds up. That is when a class action makes sense. Also, a class action allows for the consolidation of attorneys, evidence, witnesses, and other aspects of litigation to make the lawsuit more efficient.
How many people do you need to file a class action lawsuit?
Although it may help if several people are named as plaintiffs in the suit, a single person is enough to file a lawsuit as long as the attorney for the class has a good faith belief that a number of other people were injured in a similar way.
What are some of the benefits of a class action lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is efficient because it collects and disposes of a large number of claims at one time. The judge hears from both sides, plaintiff and defendant, then decides who wins for the entire group. If the class of plaintiffs wins, the judge decides the amount of recovery, which is divided among the group. If the judge decides for the defendant, the lawsuit is over and the individual class members can’t bring a later lawsuit on the same issues.
A class action overcomes “the problem that small recoveries do not provide the incentive for any individual to bring a solo action prosecuting his or her rights”. Amchem Prods., Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 617 (1997) (citation omitted). “A class action solves this problem by aggregating the relatively paltry potential recoveries into something worth someone’s [usually an attorney’s] labor.” Amchem Prods., Inc., 521 U.S. at 617 (citation omitted). In other words, a class action ensures that a defendant who engages in widespread harm – but does so minimally against each individual plaintiff – must compensate those individuals for their injuries.
A class action is often the sole means of enabling persons to remedy injustices committed by powerful, multi-million dollar corporations and institutions and, importantly, to get the corporations to stop cheating others. “The justifications that led to the development of the class action include the protection of the defendant from inconsistent obligations, the protection of the interests of absentees, the provision of a convenient and economical means for disposing of similar lawsuits, and the facilitation of the spreading of litigation costs among numerous litigants with similar claims.” United States Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 402-03, 100 S.Ct. 1202, 1211-12 (1980).
Moreover, “the class action device saves the resources of both the courts and the parties by permitting an issue potentially affecting every [class member] to be litigated in an economical fashion.” General Telephone Co. v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 155, 102 S.Ct. 2364, 2369, 72 L.Ed.2d 740 (1982) (quoting Califano v. Yamasaki, 442 U.S. at 701, 99 S.Ct. at 2557).