What is a class action lawsuit and how do I start one?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    A class action is a lawsuit where one or more people represent a much larger group with the same claims against the same other party.

    There's a lot of requirements to form a party: the class has to have numerosity, commonality, and typicality, and the it has to have adequate representation.

    The class has to be numerous meaning there has to be a lot of people in the class... usually over 60 or so... it has to be so numerous that it would be impractiable for all the class members to bring their claims individually... our judicial system would prefer that each person come and make their own claims, but they will allow for classes where it's necessary for practicality.

    The claims have to be common among all of the members of the class meaning that the class members can't have different claims because then it would be better for them to sue individually to best represent themselves.

    The class representative has to be typical of all the members so that they represent the class well. The class representive has to have the same claims and the same amount of money at stake or whatever... you don't want an atypical class representative because they won't represent the class well and then members will be bound to a decision that didn't meet their interests.

    And a lot the same is the adequate representation requirement that requires that the representative is an adequate representative of the class, but it also requires that the lawyers are adequate to represent in the class action too.

    After the class meets all of those requirements, it can sue under different categories. They can sue for money or can sue for injunctive relief.

    The first thing that you need to do is find a lawyer. Only they can help you form a class action. Then you'll have to find information about the people who would be in your class. And you have to apply for class certification from the court. If you receive it, you pretty much get to sue like any other lawsuit.

    This is the basic rule that governs class actions: http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/Rule23.htm

    Start by finding good class action lawyers. These are some really great lawyers and they're really great people too: http://www.gntlaw.com/class_actions.shtml They do a lot of class actions and they're pretty successful too.

    I'd like to add... in order to bring the claim in federal court, there must be over $5,000,000 in aggregate, meaning in all the claims added together, OR plaintiffs and defendants all have to be from different states and one claim must be over $75,000. Even if you file in state court, the claim is not going to be a few thousand dollars because class actions are VERY expensive lawsuits because of all of the filings that have to be made to the court and all the documents that have to be sent to all of the class members. And they are hard work, so attorneys deserve what money they make off of the litigation. Grishom's book overestimates the percentage that lawyers get from class actions and lawyers only get money if they win the lawsuit. Don't let the people who don't know anything about it convince you that this is somehow an evil ploy for attorneys to make money. The class action was developed so that large groups of people could sue for injunctive relief when they couldn't bring an expensive lawsuit on their own because you don't win any money from an injunction. Defendants HATE class actions because the large groups plaintiffs sway the jury to rule in their favor and every class member is awarded damages if they win whereas the defendant probably would win some of the cases if they were all tried separately.

  • 1 decade ago

    you can only start one if there is a legitimate gripe AND there is lots of money for the lawyers to make. Ever hear of a class action that sought only a few thousand?

    Source(s): www.biyts.info Grisham's king of torts
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