January 11, 2014

Understanding Class Action Lawsuits

By Matt Mendelsohn -

Class actions are also familiarly referred to as representative actions due to the very nature of these types of cases. In general, when an accident, defective product, or anything else has wide ranging consequences that affect a number of different people, the general consensus is to file a class action lawsuit. These are legal issues that involve multiple people, and it often takes form in a group that is bringing suit against an offending company, person, etc. However, the reverse can also be true, in which case an entire class of defendants is being sued. In general, the main determining factor in cases of this nature is the number of individuals involved. Because multiple persons are included in cases of this sort, the actions have been fittingly titled as “class actions.”

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (specifically, Rule 23 and 28 U.S.C.A. � 1332 (d)) is what is used to govern class action lawsuits. Under the conditions stipulated in these laws, entire groups of people can determine whether or not theirs is a case that could be eligible for class action. In general, the federal courts will become involved in matters that involve civil actions in which the amount in controversy is in excess of $5,000,000. The federal courts will also be utilized in any matter in which even one of an entire class of plaintiffs is a citizen of a state other than that of the defendant; any member of an entire class of plaintiffs is a citizen of a state and any defendant is the citizen of a foreign state; and any member of a class of plaintiffs is a foreign state or citizen or the subject of a foreign state when the defendant is a citizen of the state. Assuming that any of these conditions are at play when a class action suit is filed, the federal court system will undoubtedly be called upon to take action in the matter.

The nature of class action lawsuits sets up the potential for a number of plaintiffs or defendants, sometimes ranging in the hundreds. Therefore, it is not uncommon for cases such as this to span across state borders and affect residents of the country nationwide. These suits must show a commonality of issues in order to be considered in the process of a class action suit, a feat that can prove to be difficult considering the fact that many states have their own set of laws and governing expectations. However, the possibility for nationwide action lawsuits does exist, and when they are brought before the federal courts they are generally re-distributed to pre-trial multidistrict litigation cases. In this way, it is possible for the courts to look more closely at individual cases prior to attempting to handle the whole suit at once.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may or may not be better served in the federal court system vs. the state court system. In general, it has been determined that federal courts tend to produce more favorable results for defendants, while state courts are more apt to act in the favor of a group of plaintiffs. In many instances, the initial filing of a class action suit will be done in the state courts and then moved up to the federal level if circumstances call for it. Also considered to be general practice of cases of this nature is the fact that these suits are filed naming at least one, but often several, plaintiffs on a proposed class of affected individuals. There must be a common injury suffered among the group under legal speculation in order for the claim to be valid. Furthermore, due process often comes into play with these matters. This means that public notice must be made in which the class action is made viewable to all members potentially involved. This can be accomplished through public broadcast, written statements, and the like. Failure to meet any one of the aforementioned standards could effectively negate the need for a class action suit altogether.

The Mendelsohn law firm handles personal injury cases of every nature, including those which are far reaching enough to be considered under a class action lawsuit. If you have been injured in an accident or by a defective product then you should not wait to involve a legal professional in your case, as this will provide you with the best possible chances of securing the compensation and recognition you both need and deserve in order to recover from your injury or illness. Mr. Mendelsohn is here to help you take the appropriate legal action. Alongside his fellow associates and colleagues, Mr. Mendelsohn has been instrumental in securing hundreds of thousands of dollars in verdicts in settlements for the clients he represents. In fact, the primary concentration of his practices focuses precisely on matters of complex litigation that other law firms may be unwilling or incapable of handling. When you need reliable, proven results from the attorney you choose to work on your case, then you should turn to none other than a Newark personal injury lawyer from the Mendelsohn law firm today.

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