Class Action Lawsuits and Law tips

Almost all of us have, at one time, received notice from the courts that we are a member of a class action lawsuit, and have wondered," what does it all mean; what is the best course of action for us to take; what do I stand to gain or lose if I take one action or the other; and where can I get information to help me make an informed decision?". Not knowing the answers to the above and other questions, our normal course is to throw the notice in the trash and forget the matter. This is normally not the best action to take; and in this site, I will try to show what other actions are possible and should be considered.

The purported purpose of class action law suits is to give the common man the ability to take on the largest corporate or private entities (who can afford the very best legal services) and have a chance of redressing the wrong done by these entities. It is important to remember that even though the actual damage or cost to the indivdual class member may be small, the illicit gain to the corporate entity can be huge if done to hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of class members.

Class actions are, in reality, normally structured to benefit three parties. These parties are:

1) the attorneys on both sides
2) the court
3) sometimes the original class(proponents)

That the attorneys on both sides are going to make money is obvious. What is not always obvious is that the two sides are not always advisories. As there are several large firms that do a large percentage of all class actions, what often happens is a firm which has filed a class action against one company in a particular industry often ends up filing against other companies in the same industry that have committed the same offense.

This is often not as advisarial as it at first may seem because the other companies think--" company A was caught; case law was established; the original firm has all the research, depos, etc.(which are often not public by order of the court or agreement of the parties); and we better go to that firm and make the best deal possible (agree to pay large attorneys' fees and get out as cheaply and quickly as possible before someone comes after us on their own. These are often done by the sameattorneyss on both sides, on a very short time frame, and sometimes in the same court as the original case). Remember, once they get past the "opt-out" date and class members are locked-in and all the companies past sins are wiped out by the court ordered judgement (which is normally agreed to by the parties).

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