Raleigh North Carolina Consumer Class Action Lawyers
A class action is a type of lawsuit in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single case. Specific plaintiffs are named in the lawsuit to assert the claims of the entire class so that everyone with the same claim or injury doesn’t have to file their own separate lawsuit. Also, because they allow people whose damages are too small to warrant an individual lawsuit to try their cases together, class actions can often be the only practical way to stop illegal and unfair practices. Class action suits have allowed individual people to stand up against the most powerful industries in the world and to hold them accountable for their actions.
Class Action Cases
Typical class action lawsuits involve a similar harm or loss that has been suffered by a large group of people due to the same conduct of a corporation. Some examples include:
• Consumer Class Actions: Consumer class actions are generally brought when consumers are injured by a company’s systematic and illegal practices. Examples include illegal charges on bills, illegal penalties for late-payments, and failure or refusal to comply with consumer protection laws.
• Product liability/Personal Injury Class Actions: Product liability and personal injury class action lawsuits are generally brought when a defective product, such as a drug with harmful side effects, or “mass accident”, such as a toxic spill harms many people.
• Employment Class Actions: Employment class action lawsuits are typically brought on behalf of employees of a company for violations of the Labor Code, such as unpaid overtime, failure to provide breaks, as well as claims ranging from safety violations to systematic workplace discrimination.
A class action is generally initiated by one or more people who feel that they, along with a group of other people, have been wronged. A lawyer then files suit on behalf of the individual(s) and the class. At the appropriate time, the lawyer files a motion asking the court to formally recognize the case as a class action. If the court grants that motion, the other people who were similarly wronged are notified of the class action and are given an opportunity to participate in the class action as a member of the “class.”
Generally, the lawyer advances all of the costs and fees and, if the lawsuit is successful, petitions the court to award attorney fees and reimburse out-of-pocket costs. If the case is unsuccessful, the plaintiff’s lawyer absorbs the loss.
If a class action is successful in winning relief for the class, most courts, understanding that class actions can be a powerful tool for consumers’ rights in society and are to be encouraged, provide class representatives with “incentive awards.” Judges are typically given broad discretion in deciding whether these awards are appropriate and in setting the amounts of the awards, which can range from hundreds of dollars to over $10,000. In deciding how much, if anything, to award to the class representatives, courts look at factors such as the amount of involvement of the class representative and the size of the recovery for the class.
People have different reasons for taking part in class actions. Many class members take pride in forcing a giant corporation that is breaking the law to change its ways and in helping to recover often millions of dollars for the other victims. Others bring class actions to recover money that was illegally taken from them, recognizing that they couldn’t afford to pay a lawyer’s hourly fees to bring an individual suit and that their individual claim isn’t large enough to attract a lawyer who works on contingency.
If you feel that a corporation has taken advantage of you in some way, you may want to consider contacting an attorney for an evaluation of you claim.
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