The idea behind class action lawsuits is that one trial for a large “class” of people is easier, faster, and less expensive than having a large amount of “individual” trials, since the legal issue at stake is the same and the damages can be similarly calculated. In this blog, we explain how consumer class action lawsuits are different than other types of cases.
Consumer class actions are an effective way to handle widespread illegal business practices. These cases feature lots of plaintiffs who have similar issues of law or fact and whose claims and defenses are all fairly identical. “Class representative” plaintiffs and their lawyers are supposed to protect the interests of the entire class of consumers. Recently, congress passed the “Class Action Fairness Act of 2005.” This act is intended to make it more likely that any class action worth more than $5 million will end up in federal court.
Class actions start the same way that other of types cases do: one or more people file a lawsuit. The lawsuit needs to state that the plaintiff thinks it should be a class action and must contain reasons as to why. The lawsuit must fully explain the plaintiff’s reasoning for why they think the case fits the criteria for a class action.
The court will then review the arguments made by the plaintiff and the defendant. They will decide if the case is a valid class action, and whether the plaintiff and their lawyers are adequate representatives for the class. If a class is certified, the members will be told through a “Class Notice”.
If a class action case is settled, Class Members will also get a “Class Notice” that explains the terms of their settlement. The court has to review and approve any proposed settlement in a class action case. This is to ensure that the plaintiff and their lawyers have got a good deal for everyone, not just themselves.
Do you have more questions about class action lawsuits? Contact our Chicago class action lawyers to learn how we can help you today.