Consumer class action lawsuits are among the most effective tools consumers have to protect their power over the marketplace. When a large corporation does something that adversely affects a large group of people or a “class”, a class action lawsuit enables all of the affected people to act with one voice.
The Representative in a Class Action
The class action rule is in effect to improve the court’s effectiveness by permitting large groups of people with similar claims–some questions of law or fact must be in common–to join together into one lawsuit. One or more of the affected represents the harmed group in court. This named representative can be an individual, a union, or a small business or other entity. The claims and defenses of the representative need to be typical of those of the class. The representative and their attorney must fairly and adequately represent the rights of all members of the class. If representatives meet these specific criteria, they are granted permission to prove and settle not only their own claims, but also the claims of each individual of the larger affected group as well.
Examples of Class Action Suits
Class actions arise when a company’s actions harm a large group of people. Suits of this type have been brought against the manufacturers of such products as IUDs, dangerous diet drugs, and tobacco. Harmful consumer business practices, such as overcharging for bank services or using misleading information to sell products, can lead to class actions as well. Shareholders of companies can also use class actions to hold executives accountable for poor management or misleading investment information. Finally, employees can sue employers for discriminatory practices or violation of employment or benefits agreements.
If you believe you have a legal case that could qualify as a class action suit and you would be interested in becoming a class representative or would like to join a class action lawsuit, and you would like to speak with an attorney, please use the Find Attorney button at the top of the page.