Dejban Law
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Class Actions

Class Actions

Helping Employees and Consumers Right Wrongs

1. What Is A Class Action

There may be safety in numbers – but there is also power in numbers.  A class action is a type of lawsuit in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single case. Specific plaintiffs are named in the lawsuit to assert the claims of the entire class so that everyone with the same claim or injury doesn't have to file their own separate lawsuit. A class action can allow a class of plaintiffs to achieve something that individual plaintiffs would not be able to achieve because the cost of litigation would be prohibitive given the potential damage awards. Class action suits have allowed individual people to stand up against the most powerful industries in the world and to hold them accountable for their actions.

2. Different Types Of Class Actions

The typical class action lawsuit involves a situation where a large group of people is injured by the same conduct. There are different types of class action lawsuits, among them:

  • Product liability Class Actions: Product liability class action lawsuits are generally brought when a defective product causes the product to malfunction or not function as intended.  This includes everything from defective drugs with harmful side effects to automobiles – such as malfunctioning windows or brakes – to common consumer products – like some of the products you buy every day at stores.
  • Consumer Fraud Class Actions: Consumer fraud class actions are generally brought when consumers are injured by a company's systematic and illegal practices. These can include illegal charges on bills – such as credit cards or cell phones – illegal penalties for late-payments, and failure to comply with consumer protection laws.  These also call include everything from data breaches and hacking issues to false advertising of food products to false claims regarding the effectiveness of various types of product such as makeup, consumer products, electronics and technology products.
  • Employment Class Actions: Employment class action lawsuits are commonly those brought on behalf of employees of a company for violations of the Labor Code, such as unpaid overtime, failure to provide breaks.  They can also involve ranging from safety violations to systematic workplace discrimination. 
  • Civil Rights Class Actions: Class action lawsuits are particularly effective at deciding important civil rights issues.  For example, Brown v. Board of Education was a class action lawsuit decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954 that ended racial segregation in public schools. More recent class action civil rights cases have been brought about challenging the fair conduct of certain police departments, the alleged sex discrimination policies of major corporations, and the alleged unfair treatment of people with disabilities.
  • Securities Class Actions: Securities class actions are typically brought on behalf of a group of investors who have been injured as a result of a improper conduct, such as misstating earnings, concealing or misrepresenting risks, or otherwise engaging in activity detrimental to a company, partnership, or individual investors.  

3. How A Case Becomes A Class Action

A class action is generally initiated by one or more people who feel that they, along with a group of other people, have been wronged. At the appropriate time after the filing of a lawsuit, a motion must be filed asking the court to formally recognize the case as a class action. If the court grants that motion, the action officially is recognized as a class action.

4. Reasons that You Would Want Your Case to be a Class Action

A class action is one of the most effective ways of fighting powerful corporations from committing widespread abuses – particularly where each person harmed has sustained damages that make individual litigation cost-prohibitive.

5. Class Representatives May Be Entitled to Additional Compensation

If a class action is successful, most courts allow the class representatives to obtain "incentive awards." Judges have broad discretion in deciding whether these awards are appropriate and in setting the amounts of the awards.  The awards can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $25,000. In deciding how much, if anything, to award to the class representatives, courts look at factors such as the amount of involvement of the class representative and the size of the recovery for the class.

If you are aware of situations where a corporate practice is causing harm to multiple individuals, contact Dejban Law either electronically or by phone so that we can determine if you have a case and if we can represent you.