We have recovered millions of dollars for class members.
We have also negotiated numerous changes to business practices, to ensure that our class members are never injured by the company in the way they were previously.
When we take a class action, we do it for the benefit of the class.
We are Georgia class action lawyers that you can count on.
Class actions are tough cases. They take time, resources, and expertise.
We have the experience to take on whatever the defendant may throw at us in a class case.
What is a Class Action?
In traditional lawsuits, one plaintiff sues one defendant. The litigation solely focuses on those two people’s legal relationship.
In class actions, however, a plaintiff sues a defendant on behalf of a large number of people.
These people are called “class members.” The representative agrees to faithfully represent the interests of the entire class.
When certain requirements are met, the Court permits the representative to pursue all the claims at once.
What are the requirements for a class action suit in Georgia?
There are special requirements to maintain a class action. These requirements are written in statutes. In a federal case, meaning a suit filed in federal court, class actions are covered by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. There are a lot of hoops that a class representative must jump through. Below is an overview.
- Standing. The representative must have “standing” to bring the claim. Standing is a fancy legal word that basically means that the individual has the right to bring the suit individually because they have been wronged.
- Common Questions. The representative must show that their claims and the class members’ claims are similar. This is shown by focusing on similar facts and similar legal questions.
- Shared claims. The representative must have the legal claims as the class members. In other words, the representative and the class have to be suing the defendant for the same thing, like breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, violation of a statute, or similar legal claims.
- Numerosity. There has to be a lot of people involved. There must be enough people to make individual suits impractical. There is no magic formula but, in general, you need more than 40 people.
- Faithful Representation. The representative must show that they will adequately and faithfully represent the class members.
- Common Questions Dominate. Not only does the representative have to show that there are similarities in the claims, but the representative must show that the common questions are signification and can be resolved in the class actions.
- Class Action is Superior. The class action must be superior to individual actions or other types of litigation that may reasonably be available to the class. This often happens when there are relatively small damages or there are so many people with the same claims that there is a risk of inconsistent rulings.
There are often other things that the class representative has to prove in order to bring a class action. A Georgia class action lawyer can help you analyze any issues that you see.
What are the benefits of Class Actions?
Class actions provide folks with a unique opportunity to pool their resources, bargain with a big corporation, and get real results.
- Opportunity. Often, class actions deal with suits that would not be able to be brought on their own due to expense. The court costs to a lawsuit can be several hundred dollars. If a company has wronged a person less than this amount or only slightly more, it would not make logical sense to sue. A class action lets those people pool their damages to make litigation an opportunity.
- Shared Expenses. Litigation is expensive. So are attorneys. In class cases, members share the costs of litigation and attorneys. This shared responsibility lightens the load on the class.
- More Bargaining Power. Given the large amount of damages a company faces in a class action, the class members have much more bargaining power. The company will want to listen and make concessions that they would not otherwise in a typical suit.
- Big Change. As a result of the significant bargaining power, class actions can result in significant beneficial change for the class. We have recovered hundreds of millions for class members. We have also negotiated court orders that stop illegal activity from happening again in the future.
Whenever we take on a class action, it is to make the best deal for the class possible under the circumstances. By pooling our resources, the class can negotiate a favorable resolution that would not be possible alone.
What types of suits can be maintained in Class Actions?
There is no magic formula for what type of claim can be maintained as a class action. Here are some common types.
- Breach of Contract Class Action. In a breach of contract claim, the class members assert that the defendant breached the contract in a similar manner and the class members were affected in a similar way.
- Product Liability Class Action. When a defective product is manufactured, particularly one that deals with safety, there can be serious consequences for lots of people. We handled one of these very successfully with defective police vest cases.
- Negligent Class Action. Sometimes negligence can form the basis of a class action. This includes negligent lapses in security which result in a security data breach.
- Breach of Statute. Some statutes include the right to sue. When these statutes are not followed, there may be a class action. For example, there is a statute that makes it illegal for a company to call your cell phone with an “autodialer” without your consent. We recovered over $1.4 million for a class under these circumstances.
- Securities Class Action. Securities fraud can form the basis of a class action.
- Antitrust Class Action. Antitrust claims can also form the basis of a class action.
How are Class Actions settled?
Settlement of class actions is also governed by Rule 23. This rule requires that the Court approve the settlement and that notice is sent to every class member.
In order for a class action to be settled, the representative and the class attorneys negotiate a resolution with the defendant in light of the facts and circumstances of the case. The class attorneys prepare a document, called a motion, for the Court. This motion lays out the law and facts and reasons for the settlement. The Court then approves or denies the settlement, on a preliminary basis.
Assuming the Court approves preliminarily the settlement, then notice is mailed to the class. The class is notified that they have a fixed amount of time to object to the settlement and are instructed as to the procedures applicable to such an objection being filed. The notice will also provide that any class member may opt out of the settlement. Generally, a form is provided for use by a member who elects to opt out. The notice also provides notice of the date of final hearing regarding of the approval and non-approval of the settlement, as well as the location thereof. The notice will also provide information as to who the claims administrator will be, the procedure for filing a claim as a class member, and a form necessary to be used in submitting a claim.
What is Multi-District Litigation or an MDL?
Multi-district litigation is litigation in which many lawsuits making very similar allegations are filed in multiple districts. Districts basically means different courts, throughout the country. Under those circumstances the “Judicial Panel on Multi- District Litigation” will usually transfer all related actions to one district where they are consolidated for pretrial purposes.