Sometimes, filing a class-action lawsuit is what people should do. In today’s world, people that have bought a defective or even dangerous product are entitled to start a class action lawsuit. Additionally, employment-related claims are also something people can go for if they were discriminated at work in any way. Fraudulent business practices are another element that entitles the fraud victims to file for a class action lawsuit and ask for a settlement.
However, there are some requirements that people need to fulfill before they can file their lawsuit. If you want to know how to file a class-action lawsuit, the first thing you need to do is to make sure to hire reputable class action lawsuit attorney.
In addition to that, here are other requirements people must know:
1. Knowing Your Rights
The essential thing that people must be aware of is their legal rights and laws. Recognizing the wrongdoing that happened to them is the most important step before taking further legal actions. If their case doesn’t have the legal foundation for filing a claim, there’s nothing else they could do.
Some of the most common causes that lead to class action lawsuits are employment discrimination by age, race, religious or sexual beliefs, etc. Other things, like personal injuries, which involve a third party are also an excellent base to start. If a lot of people bought the faulty product from the same manufacturer, they can file for class action lawsuits and try to claim their rights.
However, defendants are usually willing to come up with a settlement to avoid the court processes. In case the plaintiffs and defendants agree to settle without going to court, everything can end much faster and more comfortable for both sides.
2. The Basics
When it comes to class-action lawsuits, the most critical requirement people must know about is that it can be filed if there’s only one plaintiff or even a smaller group. Class action lawsuits don’t require a specific number of plaintiffs to file the lawsuit against one or more defendants, but having more plaintiffs usually helps start the process.
The document that must be filed to officially start a class action lawsuit is called a “class action complaint.” After the lawyer has investigated and reviewed the facts and the legal issues at hand and concluded that there are enough materials and proofs, they’ll file a class action complaint to the court.
An excellent example of this is a personal injury lawsuit. If there are more plaintiffs, it’s impractical to file separate lawsuits. Therefore, the best solution is to file for a class action lawsuit instead. The representatives file the lawsuit and conduct the litigation. All other class members will be notified so they’ll have a chance to opt-out of the class action and receive instructions on how to get their share of any potential settlement or damages award.
3. Claim Certification
To be able to file a class-action lawsuit, people must be aware that their lawsuit needs to be certified by the court. Depending on the subject matter, a class action can be governed either by state or federal law.
The entire certification procedure can somewhat differ from state to state because of the federal systems and states’ rules. Rule 23(a) of FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) states that the needed requirements are as follows:
- The “questions of law or fact” across all claims must be common. This means that all the allegations must consist of unified wrongdoing or fault. A good example will be if there are thousands of complaints against a car manufacturer for a faulty car engine.
- There must be numerous possible claimants, so it’s impractical to combine them all as named plaintiffs in a single and conventional lawsuit.
- All class representatives must have the same claims as to all others in the class. The arguments that the defendant might bring up would be similar or the same ones.
- The class representatives will provide adequate and fair protection for the entire class. In this situation, the attorney(s) may be scrutinized about the fee agreement.
If your case is class certified, it doesn’t mean it’s already won. The judges can exercise a fair amount of discretion, while all the arguments against and for certification may be protracted and quite complex. When the case is certified, it’ll go further to a pre-trial procedure. Otherwise, the case is dismissed.
Although requirements for filing a class action lawsuit may seem somewhat complicated, they’re not. People must know their rights and act accordingly.
Finding a reputable attorney to check if there’s a foundation to start a lawsuit is the next most crucial step. When the judge approves the claim certification, the whole process will begin, and that’s when people can start hoping for the best outcome.