Class actions are a type of mass tort case wherein a representative plaintiff or group of plaintiffs files suit and moves forward with a case on behalf of multiple additional parties. There may be hundreds or even thousands of members of a class, and a group of just a few plaintiffs will be responsible for proving the case and will make decisions on settlement offers. The court will need to certify the class and will need to approve any settlement agreement.
Class actions can provide significant benefits for plaintiffs and can provide some limited benefits for defendants. Companies may also wish to avoid class actions and may include contractual limitations on class actions because of a ruling in case called AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion. An experienced attorney at Sepahi Law Group, ALC can represent clients in class action litigation in San Diego and provide legal advice about class certifications and contract provisions related to class actions.
When are Class Actions Preferable?
For plaintiffs, there are some significant advantages to class actions but also some downsides. A class action may be preferable for a plaintiff in situations where many people have suffered a small wrong that results in minor financial loss. For example, class actions have been filed in situations where an iPod mp3 player had less battery life than promised. Because each individual plaintiff suffered such a minor loss, no plaintiff would want to spend time and money to file a personal lawsuit against Apple and pursue the case in court. A class action allowed all affected plaintiffs to join together in one big case so they could get relief that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
Class actions can also be beneficial to plaintiffs who may want a more timely resolution of their case and who may want compensation without having to find their own attorney and prove a claim. Usually, joining a class is as simple as submitting a form. There is no need to put together evidence, understand legal arguments or go to trial. All cases can be handled at once rather than in individual court actions, moving the claim through the court much more quickly.
The downside for plaintiffs, however, is that they give up individual control over their claims. As such, when people suffer serious injuries because of a product defect, a class action is not necessarily the best course of action.
Class Actions for Defendants
Defendants may dislike class actions because it puts them at greater risk of being sued for minor problems with products. However, a defendant can also benefit in cases where it would likely be sued anyway. The defendant may be able to more quickly and easily resolve a single case brought as a class action than many hundreds or thousands of individual claims. Class actions can allow a defendant to save on legal fees and resolve problems more quickly.
Defendants should have an experienced attorney representing them when they are sued to help argue against class certification if appropriate, or to work to negotiate a settlement with the representative plaintiffs.
Class Action Litigation in San Diego: Legal Assistance and Guidance
An experienced attorney at Sepahi Law Group can represent clients in class actions as well as advice clients about the creation of arbitration contracts limiting class action rights. Call today to speak with a member of our legal team and learn more about how we can help you.