Our firm has always dedicated itself to protecting consumers from the harmful effects of corporations acting in a manner which places their profits over individuals. Our class action practice serves to further this mission by seeking out justice for large groups of consumers who have been defrauded by predatory companies.
By allowing people who have suffered similar wrongs to band together to share costs and expenses, class actions help to even the playing field between the average consumer and powerful corporations. Recent studies confirm that this tactic serves to facilitate meaningful and important changes to corporate behavior, and to help make injured consumers whole again.
What Can Class Actions Accomplish?
Class action lawsuits can achieve a wide array of remedies for consumers. One common remedy is an award of monetary damages for members of the class. Monetary damages in class action cases can include a full or partial refund, or an award which seeks to offset the loss of value to the product or service that is the subject of the lawsuit.
In addition, class actions can sometimes help to achieve “equitable” relief, which simply means a court order requiring the defendant to either do, or stop doing, something. For example, the court may order the defendant to stop engaging in deceptive marketing, and to take action to correct any misperceptions caused by the defendant’s prior deceptive activities.
The Class Representative
Class actions are pursued by an individual (or sometimes a group of individuals) whose claim is fairly representative of the claims of everyone else in the class. The class representative is a key part of ensuring a successful outcome for the class, and plays an integral role in the discovery process, among other things.
Due to having to take on additional responsibilities beyond those undertaken by the class members, the class representative may obtain an additional award over and beyond the relief obtained for the rest of the class. This additional award serves to compensate the class representative for the extra time and effort the class representative expands on behalf of the class.
Types of Class Action Cases
The term “class action” refers to the procedural vehicle which allows a group of consumers to band together to pursue a common cause. The substantive claims which can be brought in a class action includes a wide array of torts, statutory causes of action, and other claims.
Some common examples of claims which can be pursued on a class-basis include:
When you buy a product, you expect it to work. And of course, a product with a defect is worth less than a product which operates as advertised. Consumer product defect class actions allow consumers who purchased the same types of defective products to band together to seek monetary damages representing the loss of value their products have suffered by virtue of having a defect, or to require the defendant to fix their products. A famous recent example of this type of lawsuit is the Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration class actions, which resulted in a settlement of approximately $1.2 Billion dollars.
Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices/Fraudulent Marketing
All-too-often companies stray into the realm of fraudulent marketing by making flat out misrepresentations of fact concerning their products or services. Thankfully, almost every state now has some kind of consumer protection statute which outlaws this kind of unfair and deceptive trade practice. These statutes can serve as the basis for a class action lawsuit where a company’s unlawful trade practices has resulted in the same kind of harm to a group of similarly-situated consumers.
Unfortunately, employers sometimes engage in a pattern and practice of everyday mistreatment of their employees. This type of systemic mistreatment may be seen in the form of refusing to pay overtime, or by engaging in some form of discrimination or harassment towards certain groups of workers. In such instances, the employees may be able to group together to pursue their claims against their employer as part of a unified class action lawsuit.
While it would be great if Wall Street were an even playing field, headline after headline has shown that this simply not the case. Whether it be insider trading or some other type of unlawful stock market tactic, groups of shareholders are often left with their investments wiped out due to the greed of someone in a position of power. Class action lawsuits are often the last resort the defrauded shareholders are left to pursue in order to get their pilfered assets returned to them.