A class action is a type of mass tort case where many different plaintiffs were harmed in similar ways by the same defendant. Instead of every single plaintiff having his or her own case against the defendant, all of the claims are combined into one big claim. Te case is heard in court once or, more commonly, the defendant agrees to settle the case. Everyone in the class then receives compensation based on the terms of the settlement agreement and the specific nature of their injuries.
Because a class action combines the cases of many different plaintiffs, there must be at least one person who actually goes to court or is involved in the trial process. The representative plaintiff in a class action is the person who is named in the lawsuit and who represents the group. The representative plaintiff needs to be represented by a lawyer and needs to be certified by the judge at the time when the class action is certified. The San Diego class action litigation lawyers at Sepahi Law Group, APC can provide advice and skilled legal representation to representative plaintiffs and to others involved in class action cases. Call today to learn more.
Who is the Representative Plaintiff in a Class Action?
The representative plaintiff in a class action must be a person who suffered the same type of harm as all of the other plaintiffs who are taking legal action. The plaintiff has to be able to represent the interests of all of the victims in the class. That means his or her circumstances must be typical of those experienced by the other class members. The representative plaintiff also cannot have any conflicts of interest with the other members of the class.
Typically, the representative plaintiff should be someone who is sympathetic and who will make a good witness in court. There may be many members of the class who were all harmed in similar ways, but the representative plaintiff may have an especially compelling background or story in order to be more effective at appealing to the jury. The representative plaintiff in a class acton, who is also called the lead plaintiff, will need to consult on the case with the attorney and will need to agree to any settlement offer that is made by the defendant.
The representative plaintiff receives compensation from the money that the defendant provides during settlement or that is awarded by the court. It is within the discretion of the court to determine the amount of money that is appropriate to provide to the representative plaintiff after the case is resolved.
The choice of a representative plaintiff in a class action can have a profound impact on the rights of all members of the entire class. If the plaintiff does not prevail in court or no settlement can be reached, all of the parties who were harmed and who joined the class may end up receiving no compensation at all. A San Diego class actin lawyer can provide assistance on matters related to choosing the representative plaintiff in a class. Our attorneys also handle class action cases and can file suit for you if you wish to become the representative plaintiff of a group that has been harmed.