Class Action Law
Class actions can arise when a large number of people suffer a similar injury, property damage, or consumer protection harm due to a similar or same act of wrongdoing. Class actions often involve hundreds or thousands of individual claims that are individually of a small value but collectively are valuable.
For instance, if a cell phone company charges each client $20 more than it is suppose to charge, each claim is only worth $20; but, if there are 100,000 people affected, there is a significant amount at stake.
The reason class actions are sometimes necessary is that a lawyer and client cannot afford to pursue an individual claim (i.e., the above $20 cell phone example). Standard attorney fees are either hourly (minimum $200/hr) or contingency (typically 33%).
In either event, the client or the attorney cannot afford to pursue a $20 case. But if 100,000 suffer the same harm, the client can get the justice they deserve and the attorney can potentially justify a long and difficult legal battle against a multimillion dollar company. These cases are very difficult, hotly contested, and never a guarantee; thus, for a lawyer to justify the risks and expenses, there must be the potential for a significant fee.
Oftentimes a class action is what it takes to get the attention of a huge corporation that is taking advantage of people. They know they can get away with bad activities if people do not band together and pursue a class lawsuit. Class actions are sometimes the only way to truly achieve justice against large companies.
Sometimes it is difficult to identify everyone affected by a class action, but courts will require some form of notice. Historically notice has been by mail in most cases, and many readers have likely received some form of class action notice in their lifetime. As technology evolves, notice can be achieved through other means. Typically members of the class are also provided the option to opt out, and preserve the right to an individual claim.
In order to have a successful class action, the class must be “certified” by the Court. Some factors that go into the certification determination are: common questions of law or fact, whether it’s impractical to join, whether the class will provide fair and adequate protection, and competency of counsel.
Class Actions in Montana
We do not seek out class actions, but sometimes it’s the only way to achieve justice. No case is too small, particularly if it has potential for class certification, and we are always willing to talk to you about a possible claim, no matter how big or how small.
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The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Nothing on this website is intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney regarding your individual case.