Learn about Class Action
Criteria for Class Action Checklist
The following criteria need to be met in order for a class to be certified and for a case to proceed as a class action.
In order to bring a class action lawsuit, there must be enough plaintiffs to create a class. While there is no number limit to what can constitute a class, generally numerosity will be satisfied by 40 or more plaintiffs.
The class representatives must share common questions of law or fact with the class members. For example, if a bank fraudulently charges the same fee or violates a statute in the same way toward all of its customers, this might be enough to satisfy the commonality requirement.
The claims of the plaintiffs must be typical of the claims of the other members of the class. For example, if all of the plaintiffs allege fraud based on the same statement or lack of disclosure by the defendant and in each case the defendant claims that the statement of lack of disclosure was not fraudulent, this may satisfy the typicality element.
The plaintiff named in the lawsuit to represent the class must adequately represent the interests of the class. For example, the plaintiff must not have interests that conflict with the interests of the other class members and must be represented by competent and experienced counsel.
Plaintiffs may need to show that common issues will dominate the proceedings, as opposed to individual, fact-specific questions. This is important for class actions because if the court has to address individual questions for each plaintiff, there is no advantage to a class action since the court will have to go through just as much work as with an individual action for each plaintiff.
Sometimes, plaintiffs will have to show that a class action will be superior to individual actions for each plaintiff. This also goes to the heart of class actions. If individual actions would be better, then the class action would not be allowed to go forward.
Below you’ll find frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Class Action cases and a simple checklist to help you determine if you have a case that meets the criteria of a Class Action lawsuit.
Class Action FAQ
How Does a Class Action Begin? A Class Action is commenced like any other lawsuit, by filing a complaint – a formal legal document which describes the basis for the claims – with the court. It is not necessary for all of the class members to officially join the lawsuit or sign the complaint. Instead, Class Actions are filed by one individual, or a small group of individuals, who are called Class Representatives. The Class Representative brings the suit not only on his or her own behalf, but on behalf of everyone in the Class. In most Class Actions the members of the Class are given notice of the existence of the Class Action, and an opportunity to exclude themselves, called opting out of the Class. Any judgment or settlement is binding on both the Class Representative and any of the class members who do not opt out.
How is a Case Certified as a Class Action? After a Class Action complaint is filed, but before the trial, the Court must determine whether the case meets all of the legal requirements of a Class Action. These requirements include whether there is a sufficient number of people who have been affected in a similar manner by the defendant, and whether the Class Representatives will fairly and adequately represent the Class. For this reason it is important that the Class have the best possible Class Representatives.
How Will I Learn if I am in a Class Action? If the Court certifies that a case should be prosecuted as a Class Action, the Court will order that the Class be notified and, if appropriate, be given the opportunity to opt out of the Class. The Class Notice may be sent by mail, published in newspapers or magazines, broadcast on TV or radio, posted on a website, or a combination of these methods. Generally, if you receive a Class Notice and want to stay in the Class, you do not need to do anything. If there is a successful judgment or settlement all class members will be notified and given an opportunity to claim their share of the judgment. If you want to opt out, the notice will give instructions as to how to do so – usually this is as simple as sending a letter to an address specified in the Class Notice.
Am I Responsible for Paying the Attorneys for the Class? No. Neither the Class Representative nor the Class members pay anything in order to participate in a Class Action. If a Class Action results in the establishment of a common fund for compensation of class members, the attorneys for the class will apply to the court for reimbursement of their fees and expenses to be paid from the common fund. In some cases the settlement provides that the defendant must pay, in addition to the Class members’ damages, the legal fees and expenses of the Class, subject to court approval.
How Can I Join a Class Action? There are different ways that you can participate in a Class Action. First, you can serve as one of the Class Representatives. The Class Representative participates in the litigation, which may include producing relevant documents, and possibly testifying at deposition or trial. Even if you are not an official Class Representative, you can participate by providing information, documents or other assistance to the class representative and his or her attorneys. Pastor Law Office, LLP encourages all Class members to contact us if they have any questions, comments or information concerning a Class Action.
Why Should I Serve as a Class Representative or Provide Any Assistance to the Class?It costs you nothing to serve as a Class Representative, and there are clear advantages to doing so. By joining the case you are performing an important civic duty and increasing the likelihood that the Court will certify the case as a Class Action. By providing information or documents you increase the likelihood that the case will be successful, which will benefit you as a class member. As a Class Representative you will have input into how the case is handled, including the terms of any settlement. There are no special qualifications or requirements for someone to serve as a Class Representative. By serving as a Class Representative, or by assisting with the prosecution of the case, you will be helping both yourself and your fellow Class members.
Information for Plaintiffs:
Please read the Criteria for a Class Action Checklist in the first tab, and if you think your case may qualify, please contact us at 617-742-9700 or send us an inquiry by clicking here. There is no cost for a consultation. And, if you are selected to serve as a lead plaintiff you may also end up being awarded additional compensation for your time and effort by the court.
Information for Attorneys:
If you are an attorney interested in participating in any of the Class Actions listed on this site, or if you believe you have an existing case that you would like to collaborate on case which should be pursued as please call 617-742-9700 or send an inquiry to Pastor Law Office by clicking here.
The primary purpose of a Class Action is to enable individuals, investors and businesses with similar but relatively small claims to join together in one lawsuit. Claims which would not be economical to pursue on an individual basis can often be effectively prosecuted as a Class Action.For example, if a company has injured a large number of people in a similar manner (i.e., through false advertising, unfair/deceptive practices or by issuing a false earnings statement), a Class Action will save time and money for the plaintiffs and the court system. Instead of having the courts try the same issue over and over, a Class Action permits the issue to be decided in one trial.