Why are these cases important?
Without class actions, large corporate defendants would be able to cause small amounts of harm over a large group of individuals without any risk of monetary penalty.
Questions About Class Action Lawsuits
A Class Action is a lawsuit brought by an individual on behalf of all other similarly situated individuals. Rule 23 of the Federal and State Rules of Civil Procedure allows for Class Action lawsuits to resolve disputes in an efficient format.
Class Actions are typically filed when the amount of money in dispute for a single plaintiff would not justify litigating the case, but where the amount of damages of the entire class of Plaintiffs would justify the cost of litigation. Without class actions, large corporate defendants would be able to cause small amounts of harm over a large group of individuals without any risk of monetary penalty.
A Class Action lawsuit involves a large group of people that have experienced extremely similar outcomes. Because the cases must meet the strict guidelines of the Class Action, they are presented under one plaintiff.
In a Mass Tort, individual experiences may vary. Even though a large number of people have been affected, the variations from case to case are more broad than a class action. In a Mass Tort each plaintiff is represented independently, though in most instances there is still a set of general criteria to meet.
In order for a case to be certified as a Class Action, the Court must determine that the case is appropriate for class action treatment under Rule 23. There are different elements depending on whether the case is seeking monetary or injunctive relief. In general, the Court must find the following elements are satisfied:
- Numerosity: The proposed class must be so numerous that simply joining the individual plaintiffs would be impractical. Generally, the class size should exceed 100 individuals.
- Common Questions of Law or Fact: The facts and/or legal questions in the dispute must be common to all class members. This does not mean all facts or issues must be identical, but the primary facts and law that will determine the issue in dispute must be common among all class members.
- Typicality: The named Plaintiff in the case must have the same facts and legal issues as the class they are proposing to represent. If the Plaintiff’s individual case involves issues of fact or law unique to that Plaintiff and are irrelevant to the ultimate issue, class certification may be denied by the Court.
- Plaintiff/Counsel Adequately Represents the Class: The Court must find that the Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s Counsel are competent and will protect the class’ interests.
- Predominance: Common questions of fact predominate over individual facts.
- Superiority: The Class Action is a more efficient and fair means of resolving the dispute. The Court will look at the following factors when making this determination: (1) Class Member interest in maintaining a separate action; (2) the extent of any litigation already begun by other class members; (3) desirability or undesirability of litigating the case in a particular Court ; (4) difficulties in managing the class.
Medical Device Litigation, Pharmaceutical Litigation, and other toxic tort litigation is not appropriate for Class Action treatment. Specifically, cases that involve injuries to the parties contain too many individual facts in terms of the science and causation to find that the common issues predominate over the individual facts.
On the other hand, complex litigation that impacts many individuals and contain common questions of fact related to the conduct of the defendant are often appropriate for mass tort consolidation. Mass Tort consolidation in federal multi-district litigation or a State mass tort docket, allows the parties to utilize the efficiency of class action litigation through the discovery process but still allows the parties to litigate their cases individually on the critical issues of whether the conduct caused the alleged injuries.
While our human bodies are very similar, each individual’s body may have reacted differently to the toxic exposure that makes Class Action treatment inappropriate in most personal injury lawsuits.
Some toxic tort areas that may be beneficial for class action lawsuits can involve environmental contamination. When companies are negligent and contaminate large swaths of private property. Public nuisance lawsuits have been filed against negligent agricultural operations of fracking companies.
Watch our Video About the Process
Filing Class Action lawsuits is a complex and serious legal course and can carry monetary sanctions if proper legal course is not followed. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to assisting injured plaintiffs work toward a financial solution to assist in compensating for medical expenses or other damages sustained.
We work with law firms across the country to provide the most resources possible and to build your case into a valuable settlement. The current legal environment is favorable for consumers involved in data breach class actions, deceptive marketing lawsuits, TCPA telemarketing claims, and financial negligence claims.