Most people do not know exactly how to file a class action lawsuit because it differs from a typical injury claim. Most class action suits begin when a number of injured parties all file individual lawsuits against the same defendant. Sometimes, though, even a single plaintiff can file suit and ask a judge to approve a class action complaint as long as there is reason to believe dozens of others suffered damages in the same way.
A judge must approve all class action lawsuits, officially creating the class and outlining the qualifications to be a class member. Once certified, the judge deals with only a single case or a small group of cases, and applies the outcome to the rest of the class.
Step 1: Have a Class Action Lawyer Evaluate Your Case
The first step in filing a class certification is to meet with a lawyer who handles this type of claim. Not all do, and you will want to make sure you have someone with the resources and knowledge to handle your case on your side. Most attorneys offer free case evaluations, so you have nothing to lose. Our lawyers can help you understand your legal options based on the facts of your case in a complimentary consultation.
During our conversation and in our research to follow-up, we will touch on a number of different topics. One of these will certainly be whether you need to pursue individual litigation or if we may need to file a class action lawsuit. To make this decision, we will need to:
- Check for lawsuits already filed against this defendant based on this issue
- Research other similar cases to see potential outcomes
- Determine the applicable statute of limitations
- Identify others who may have suffered damages in the same way
- Ensure a class action makes more sense than a mass tort or another option
Only once we decide the best option to hold the liable party accountable and recover the compensation you deserve will we take action. We need to fully investigate your case, as well as begin to identify other potential members of the class, and learn as much as we can about the defendant.
Step 2: File the Complaint
If we determine we should pursue a class action lawsuit, one of our attorneys will prepare the complaint. In this complaint, we outline the basic facts of your case and your damages.
This legal document also gives us the chance to make our case for class action over an individual lawsuit. In it, we explain why we believe this case qualifies as a class action, and who will qualify as a part of the class. We can describe the attributes of the class, and offer any information we have about how many potential class members there could be.
For example, if we are filing a case against a company that made false claims about its product and sold 15,000 units each year in the two years it was on the market, we can estimate the number of potential class members based on this information.
We can define the class as consumers who bought the product and did not achieve the promised results. If we are filing the claim at the state level, we only include residents of your state in the potential class. However, we pursue most class actions on a federal level when possible.
Step 3: The Judge Must Approve the Class Certification
The final step in filing a class action lawsuit is the official certification of the class. Even if we propose class litigation, the judge must approve it. This includes a close look at the facts of the cases, their similarities, and their differences. An affirmative ruling is often referred to as “class certification.”
The courts use class actions to help handle a large influx of cases against the same defendant, when damages occurred in a similar manner. If there are too few cases or the facts of the cases are too different, the judge will not approve a class action.
In addition, the judge will certainly dismiss any claims he finds to have little basis — known as a frivolous lawsuit. This is one reason it is so important to have the right attorney on your side when you file this type of complaint. We have the resources to adequately prepare your case for this type of review, and best equip our complaint for class action certification.
Talk to an Attorney from Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. Today
At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., we handle all types of mass torts, multidistrict litigation, and class action cases. Call us today at 631-600-0000 to schedule your free case evaluation with our team, and learn more about your legal options for compensation.