A class action, sometimes also known as a class proceeding, is a form of litigation that allows a group of people to have their common legal issues heard in court together. Usually, a group will be represented by a single person (called the “representative plaintiff”), or a small number of people, who fall within the definition of the class.
In order to bring a class action lawsuit, it must first be demonstrated that the group has enough in common for their grievances to be tried together. This is part of the “certification” process. Certification is the first step in a class action. If a court agrees that the class action should be certified as such, then the group can proceed to have their shared legal issues determined together, in a common issues trial.
Class actions require expertise and experience. They are complex to pursue and are often fought aggressively by defendants. They do, however, offer a number of advantages, as compared to other litigation alternatives. A class action allows people access to justice when they may not be able to resolve their legal issues alone, because the costs of starting an individual legal action may outweigh the potential award. Class actions can be efficient and cost-effective, especially in cases such as product liability, privacy breaches, workplace harassment, institutional abuse, and other unfair practices that commonly affect groups of people.
Please contact Wagners if you would like to discuss whether a class action may be a useful tool to resolve your legal issue.