What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

Class action lawsuits are civil suits that are brought about by one person or a couple of people who are acting on the behalf of a large group of people.  People who have suffered or been harmed and who sue the individuals or the company that is allegedly responsible for their pain and suffering or maltreatment.  These cases are heard in state courts as well as federal courts, and a recent act called the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 now makes it much easier to take a case from the state to the federal level.

These are cases when so many people have a case, a similar case that presenting each individual case in different law suits becomes a preposterous and time consuming notion.  These are cases that usually involve bodily harm or injury to many people, such as in many cases concerning pharmaceutical companies or dangerous chemicals.  Other examples include the firing or wrongful layoffs of a large number of people, or when a financial institute is found guilty of fraudulent behavior that has affecting the lives of many of their clients.

How a case becomes a class action suit is when the lead plaintiffs file a claim with the judicial system stating that many people have suffered some kind of harm due to the actions of a company.  They must show that these criteria are met: the people must have a legal claim, and there are many people who have suffered in the same kind of way.

For instance, if many people suffered the side effects of a drug in different ways, it may not be classified as a class action suit.  But if a drug caused many people the same side effect, they would have a case.  The lead plaintiff must represent all members of the group.  The lead plaintiff is also to not be in contact at all with the Class Members of the company in which they are suing.  Class actions cases ensure that the needs of many people who have been wronged are met quickly and efficiently.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 at 2:59 pm and is filed under Class Action Information. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

 

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