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Employment Law Firm in California

Class Action Attorney


Worried About Participating In A Class Action Lawsuit? — You Are Protected

An individual may bring a class action lawsuit if he or she was physically or financially injured because of a corporation’s wrongful actions, and when he or she believes that others were also harmed in a similar manner.

A class action lawsuit gives hundreds and even thousands of individuals the opportunity to come together and collectively take legal action against an entity instead of filing individually, which could easily become financially and logistically unfeasible.

As a member of a class action lawsuit, you may be entitled to damages for:

1)What Exactly Is A Class Action Lawsuit?

In a class action lawsuit, an individual — or even a small group of people — files a lawsuit on behalf of a much larger group of people. This larger group, who are essentially being represented by the class action lawsuit  – is known as the class. Once a lawsuit has actually been filed, the proposed class will also be defined. Any individuals who meet the definition of the proposed class are known as class members.

Let’s consider the following example to further understand a class action lawsuit. Let’s imagine that a false advertising class suit was filed against a solar panel company. The suit alleges that the solar company company overestimated how much money customers would actually save in the long run by installing their products. 

In the above example, the class is defined as any individuals who purchased solar panels in the time frame during which the false claims were made. Further, any individual who is considered a member of the class would also be entitled to any settlement or judgment resulting from the lawsuit.

2) How Can I Bring A Class Action Lawsuit?

Class action lawsuits can be brought by one individual — known as a lead plaintiff —  or a small group of people, known as a class. For the most part, any individual may bring a class action lawsuit. It’s important to note that a lead plaintiff, because they are representing the interests of many, will typically qualify for additional damages. 

If you wish to bring a class action lawsuit, it’s crucial that you first speak with an employment attorney because there are specific requirements that must be met in order to file a class action lawsuit. These requirements will be discussed below.

What Are The Benefits Of A Class Action Lawsuit?

An individual doesn’t need to do anything to become involved in a class action lawsuit. There are no costs required to be a class member and you will not suffer any retaliatory action for participating. Finally, you may always opt out of a class action lawsuit if you change your mind or no longer wish to participate.

Below are three benefits of participating in a class action lawsuit:

  1. Litigation costs will be distributed across many plaintiffs, which means that litigation will generally be more affordable. Also, the majority of class action lawsuits are handled on a contingency fee basis and plaintiffs will not pay any legal fees unless the case is won.
  2. Class action lawsuits allow plaintiffs in a similar situation to recover damages in a similar manner. This is an added benefit because members in a class action lawsuit can compare their case to other similar claims and potentially estimate damages or judgments. 

The greatest advantage to participating in a class action lawsuit is that plaintiffs will actually receive the money they have been awarded. Class action lawsuits guarantee that all available damages will be distributed amongst plaintiffs.

Requirements For Bringing A Class Action Lawsuit

Everything begins with a legal document known as a class action complaint. A class action complaint describes all the circumstances that caused the harm suffered by the client(s). A formal complaint also declares that the intention of the lawsuit is to recover compensation for the lead plaintiff and on behalf of all individuals who have experienced the same harm. 

If, for example, a lead plaintiff is bringing a suit against an employer for age discrimination, the suit will represent any employees who also suffered age discrimination.

When assessing the circumstances of your specific case, a judge will consider the following:

Amount Of Plaintiffs Involved. The larger the class, the better. If a relatively small group of people were harmed, a judge can request that they should instead file as individuals and forego the class action lawsuit entirely.

Common Questions Of Law And Fact. A class action lawsuit needs to revolve around factual and legal issues that are common to all class members. In addition, the class members should all have been harmed in the same way. As long as the lead plaintiff(s) serves the interests of the proposed class, this requirement will be satisfied. 

This means, for example, that if a plaintiff was the victim of much greater harm than the rest of the class members, a judge can decide that the plaintiff must file an individual lawsuit instead because his or her claim is not typical to the rest of the class members.

Adequate Representation For The Class. The plaintiff and their legal representation must have the appropriate interest in the class action suit to properly represent the class members. This means that any attorney(s) representing the class must have adequate experience to handle such claims.

3) How Do Wrongful Termination Claims Work?

Before thinking about anything else, you must determine whether you are an at-will employee. If your employment is at-will, your employer can terminate you with or without a valid reason.

You typically do not have a claim against an employer for wrongful termination or retaliation unless you were engaged in a protected activity recognized by the FEHA. For the most part, protected activities include being wrongfully terminated or retaliated against for participating in any FEHA proceedings.

Furthermore, you will not have a case against your employer for retaliation unless they took some form of adverse action against you. Adverse actions of course can be severe enough to include termination, but that is not necessarily the case. Even demotions or pay cuts may count as adverse actions.

An adverse action can be also be any pattern of behavior which adversely and materially affects the terms, conditions and privileges of employment.

The first and most important action you must take if you were wrongfully terminated is to gather as much relevant evidence as you can and keep it in a safe place. 

It is a good idea to document and safekeep any documents or recollections of all conversations with your employer that are relevant to your termination. Please make sure to include places, dates, and the names of all participants.

An employee typically must first file an administrative complaint before proceeding with a lawsuit. Furthermore, any employee who wants to file a lawsuit in California must first file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Once the DFEH has completed its investigation, and determined whether or not you have a valid claim, you will be notified if you can file a claim in court. 

If you have completed all the necessary administrative complaint filing requirements, you may file a lawsuit. It is important that you consult with an experienced wrongful termination lawyer in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

How Long Will A Class Action Lawsuit Take?

To begin with, an attorney will likely assess your specific claim by:

  1. Determining how many individuals were harmed in the same way.
  2. Conducting research to determine if a similar lawsuit making similar claims has previously been filed, and whether it was successful. 
  3. Determine whether any statute of limitations apply.
  4. Determine whether a client must file individually and not be part of a class action suit.

Filing a Lawsuit

Once an employment attorney has determined that a claim can be filed, he or she will draft a class action complaint which outlines the relevant facts of the case, as well as any damages being sought.

Let’s consider the following example of what a class action complaint may look like. Let’s say that an attorney discovers that MowerMan, a popular mower company, is manufacturing products that stop working after 2 years, when they should really last at least 5 years. The attorney then discovers that hundreds of people have already complained about the faulty products. 

In this example, a complaint would likely explain that MowerMan mowers are defective, the reasons why MowerMan must pay for any repairs, as well as the dollar amounts required to repair the faulty products. 

Certifying the Class

A judge must rule that a class action suit should be given class action status before proceeding. A putative class action is a class action suit that has not officially been given class certification ruling. 

The Discovery Stage

The discovery stage is the investigatory phase of a lawsuit. At this point, your employment attorney(s) will request documents and conduct depositions with experts or individuals familiar with the circumstances of the lawsuit. 

Resolution And Notification

Once a judge has passed judgment and determined the damages, all members of the class will be notified of the judgment and any available damages.

  • How Long Will A Class Action Lawsuit Take?

Class action lawsuits can be resolved within a few months, but some may take many years. Most class action suits will typically take anywhere from 2-3 years to resolve.

There is always the possibility that some companies will prefer to settle quickly. This is typically the case when businesses are worried about their reputations and are afraid of bad publicity.

West Coast Employment Lawyers Is Here to Help

The best course of action is to secure legal advice immediately upon determining that unfair treatment has or is occurring. The class action lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers will do everything possible to construct effective arguments to win your case. Our attorneys are committed to helping you receive full vindication, fair compensation, and the peace of mind that you deserve.

Contact West Coast Employment Lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation with a class action lawyer at our firm. You can reach our legal team 24/7 by calling 1-800-247-9235 or emailing info@employmentattorneylosangeles.com.

References

https://www.classaction.org/learn/how-to-start

https://www.classaction.org/learn/lawsuits-overview

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/damages

https://www.classaction.org/learn/faqs

https://www.classaction.org/learn/how-long-it-takes

https://www.classaction.org/learn/how-lawsuits-work

https://www.classaction.org/learn/what-happens-when-a-lawsuit-settles

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/punitive_damages


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