In the simplest of terms, a “class action lawsuit” refers to a group (a class) that sues another party. Consumer class action suits are among the most effective tools available to consumers to protect their power over the marketplace. When a large corporation does something to harm or affect a lot of people, a class action enables those affected to act collectively with one voice.
While the subject matter can greatly vary, two factors are almost always present in every class action lawsuit:
- The issues in dispute are common to all members of the class, and
- The persons affected are so great that it wouldn’t be possible to bring them all before the court.
Many defective products have been kept off the market while many manufacturers have been penalized due to class action lawsuits. Some common types of class actions include patients being prescribed a medicine with dangerous and undisclosed side effects, consumers purchasing the same defective product that suffered harm and homeowners and residents affected by a toxic spill.
Sheller P.C. is currently undertaking several class actions, particularly those involving “data breach” victims in which a corporation’s computer system is compromised resulting in personal and financial consumer information being at risk. Nearly one in three data breach victims also became a fraud victim in the same year.
Due to the power of class action cases, many interest groups have formed to prevent these types of suits. In fact, some organizations and corporations actively lobby for laws to restrict class actions, try to avoid liability and discredit the lawyers who file them as well as the plaintiffs who unite under them.
This summary is by no means an exhaustive list but rather intended to give lay persons a basic overview to class actions.