33 North La Salle Street #2700 | Chicago, IL 60602

Questions about Class Action Lawsuits

Chicago, Illinois

class action lawsuit questionsWhat is a class action lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is filed by one or more people on behalf of a larger group of individuals who have suffered a similar injury caused by the same defendant. There are two criteria which must be met in order for a case to be filed as a class action:

  • The issues in dispute are common to every member of the class
  • The number of people impacted is too large to make filing individual lawsuits practical

In a class action claim, the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit will represent the entire class of people who have suffered damages. These cases are ideally suited for situations where the damages to each individual plaintiff are not sufficient to justify the time and expense of a lawsuit, but when the damages of the entire plaintiff class are combined, the total is much more substantial and warrants litigation.

How do I initiate a class action lawsuit?

In order to initiate a class action lawsuit, there must be a large group of individuals who suffered common damages and wish to pursue compensation jointly. For example, if a large number of people suffered similar injuries caused by a defective product, all of the victims may be able to combine their claims against the manufacturer in a class action lawsuit.

How do I join a class action lawsuit?

Once a court certifies a case as a class action, all potential class members will be notified of the pending litigation. In most cases, class members do not have to take any action to join the lawsuit. Instead, they decide to participate by declining to “opt out.” If compensatory damages are awarded, class members who chose not to “opt out” are generally bound by the terms of the settlement and automatically receive a share of the recovery awarded to the entire class.

What is a lead plaintiff?

The lead plaintiff is appointed by the court to represent the entire class of plaintiffs. The lead plaintiff’s attorneys are generally appointed as lead counsel for the case and oversee the litigation.

In class action claims involving securities fraud, the lead plaintiff must meet the following criteria:

  • Must not have purchased the security in order to be able to participate in the lawsuit
  • Must have suffered damages due to the securities fraud
  • Must be available to testify at a deposition and at a trial, if a settlement is not reached first
  • Must agree not to take any additional payments for serving as lead plaintiff beyond your share of the recovery

What can I expect to recover in a class action lawsuit?

You are entitled to receive a pro rata share of the total settlement awarded to the plaintiff class. In many cases, the total funds recovered are not sufficient to fully compensate each class member for the total extent of their damages.

Please contact Harvey L. Walner & Associates today to schedule your free class action consultation. We serve clients nationwide from our offices in Chicago, Illinois.