What is a Class Action?
A class action is a lawsuit that is designed to bring justice for a larger number of people who have been harmed, either physically or economically, by the same conduct. Typically, one or more people sue as a representative of a group, or class of people or businesses.
Pursuing a case as class actions helps to protect against inconsistent legal decisions by different courts on essentially the same facts. Class Actions address similar claims in a single lawsuit by a single court, thereby saving both judicial time and case expenses.
Once the court certifies a case as a class action, there is far greater supervision over the case that would be normal for an individual case. The reason for this is that hundreds and potentially thousands of class members are not actively watching the lawsuit but will nonetheless be impacted by the result. The court must approve the notice that is provided to class members when a case is certified as a class by or when it is settled.
Not all law firms handle class actions because of the unique situation presented by a class action. Law firm typically advance the expenses associated with the entire class action until the case is resolved. Class members are not individually responsible for legal fees or case expenses. The court either awards attorneys’ fees and costs separately from the class award as a percentage of the class award. If a class action is lost, the law firm often does not receive payment for the expenses or attorney time expended on the case.
Class actions are most often used in anti-trust cases, consumer fraud, securities fraud and in consumer protection cases such as the cases brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other laws. Attorneys at Specter Specter Evans & Manogue, P.C. and JC Evans Law, P.C. have been leaders in class action litigation, representing classes of people who have suffered a loss due to the conduct of business. While local in address, the firm enjoys a national reputation and has served in a leadership role in more than a hundred class actions and appointed by Courts across the United States to protect the interests of absent class members. Some of these cases include:
- In re Chambers Development Company Securities Litigation, Civil Action No. 92-0679 (W.D. Pa.);
- In re Baxter Corporation Gammagard Product Liability Litigation, (MDL 1060), (C.D. Cal.);
- In re: Flat Glass Antitrust Litigation, (MDL No. 1200) (W.D. PA);
- In re: Flat Glass Antitrust Litigation II, (MDL No. 1942) (W.D. PA);
- In Re Westinghouse Securities Litigation, Civil Action No. 91-0354 (W.D. Pa.);
- Timothy McLaughlin, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, v. Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg, LLP, et al., Case No. 2:10-cv-01406-CB;
- Marrs et al. v. New York Life Insurance Company, Civil Action No. 94-2037, (Allegheny Co. Court of Common Pleas, PA);
- In Re Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Sales Practices Litigation, (MDL 1091) (W.D. Pa.);
- Cope et al. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, et al., 95-CO-46 (Ct. Of Appeals 7th Appellate) (Columbiana Co. Ct. of Common Pleas, OH);
- In re: Silicone Gel Breast Implant Products Liability Litigation, (MDL 926) (N.D. Ala.); and
- In re Air Crash Near Pittsburgh on September 8, 1994, Misc. No. 94-1014, MDL No. 1040 (W.D. Pa.);