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       For informational purposes only. Always consult an attorney to obtain competent legal advice.

Class Action Lawsuits
Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits usually take place in federal court because the class of injured persons is usually comprised of residents of several states. However, some class actions are filed in state courts. Some generalizations about class action lawsuits:

  • All members of the class action must be "similarly situated" in that they have suffered damages from similar circumstances, such as from the same defective product or tragic event; although each member of the class need not suffer the same exact damages.

  • Some class actions are compulsory, meaning the persons injured have no choice but to join the class in order to recover damages. However, in many class action lawsuits each member of the class may "opt out" and hire their own lawyer to pursue their claim individually. 

  • A judge must first approve a class action lawsuit; then a process is established for the probable members of the class to be notified. Once the case is resolved, the members of the class are paid from the proceeds of any settlement or jury award after attorney fees and costs are deducted.  


Examples of class action lawsuits include persons who have been injured by:

  • A prescription drug that had unintended side effects, such as sudden blackouts.

  • A defective consumer product, such as vehicles susceptible to sudden acceleration or loss of steering.

  • A dangerous product for which there was insufficient warning of potential harm, such as tobacco products.

  • A common disaster, such as the 911 terrorist bombings of the World Trade Towers, the BP oil spill, or a plane crash.

  • An unfair business practice, such as deceptive credit card or bank account charges.

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