What Are Some Examples of Big Class Action Lawsuits?
Class action lawsuits are one type of tort lawsuit. Big class action lawsuits happen when a large number of claimants have suffered a similar type of harm.
When this happens, the individuals can form a “class.” This allows them to join forces and file a single lawsuit against the responsible party or parties.
Typically, big class action lawsuits are filed against large organizations. This can include corporations or government entities.
If you have suffered harm because of the negligence of an organization, you may be able to join a class action lawsuit to recover the money that you are due. This is especially true if other individuals sustained the same or similar damages.
Below, we will discuss several important issues related to big class action lawsuits. We will also examine several examples of this type of case.
The team at Morgan & Morgan has decades of experience handling big class action lawsuits. If you believe that you have a valid class action claim, do not hesitate to call our firm.
Our accomplished attorneys know what it takes to recover compensation for our clients. Fill out the contact form on the Morgan & Morgan website to arrange a no-obligation consultation today.
Understanding Class Action Lawsuits
A class action lawsuit is the most reasonable option for a large number of plaintiffs to pursue legal action against a small number of defendants. Class action suits are intended to relieve the court system of the potential burden of many similar cases.
When many claimants have suffered harm for the same reason, big class action lawsuits allow the courts to rule once. In these cases, a representative of the class will file the suit and pursue litigation.
The other members of the class are notified about the class action suit. This provides them with the opportunity to join the lawsuit or opt out.
When claimants win a class action lawsuit, all class members are provided with a percentage of the recovery. In some instances, a compensation fund is formed to provide financial recovery to those who can demonstrate that they qualify as class members.
If you have been harmed because of a corporation’s or entity’s negligence, you may be able to join a class action lawsuit. The compassionate attorneys at Morgan & Morgan will work tirelessly to recover the financial compensation that is rightfully yours.
Steps for Filing Big Class Action Lawsuits
When filing a complaint, you can technically classify your lawsuit as a class action. However, there is much more to the process of filing a class action lawsuit than checking a box on a complaint form.
Filing a complaint also involves detailing the accusations of the suit. The plaintiff, or their attorney, must then serve the defendant with the complaint.
Certifying the Class
The most important and difficult procedural step in this type of lawsuit is certifying the class.
After the initial complaint has been filed and served, the courts will begin certifying the class. The plaintiff who filed the complaint can also file a motion to have the proposed class certified.
The certification process varies from state to state. But most states adhere to the same criteria for class certification.
The filing plaintiff must prove the following criteria to complete the class certification process:
- The representative plaintiff sustained similar harm to other class members
- Membership in the class can be adequately and clearly defined
- The large number of class members makes individual lawsuits impractical
- A shared set of legal issues underlie the relevant damages
- A class action lawsuit is appropriate, given the claims
Judges are permitted a wide range of discretion. Oftentimes, arguments about the certification of a class are complicated and prolonged.
If the presiding judge decides not to certify the class, the lawsuit is dismissed. Once a class of plaintiffs has been certified, pre-trial procedures begin.
Certifying a class of plaintiffs does not imply that the judge agrees with the claim. It does not mean that the judge believes the defendant is responsible for harm.
It only means that the defendant is facing a legitimate big class action lawsuit.
Clearly, there is more to filing this type of suit than submitting a class action complaint. The legal team at Morgan & Morgan has an extensive knowledge of the laws regarding class action suits.
Categories of Big Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits are applicable to many cases where a large number of people have been harmed. Some of the most common examples of class action categories include:
This type of class action is filed by plaintiff investors. Typically, the plaintiffs are arguing that a specific company was engaged in improper business practices.
If the improper business conduct led to financial harm for the plaintiffs, they may pursue a class action against the corporation. Typical examples of inappropriate business practices include whistleblower litigation and defrauding investors.
Product Liability or Personal Injury
When a product on the market has physically harmed many individuals, they can form a class and sue. Typical defendants for product liability cases are those involved in the product’s manufacturing, distribution, and marketing.
This type of class action suit is also known as a “personal injury” class action. But not every instance of a personal injury class action involves product liability.
Some other examples of personal injury lawsuits include:
- Mass disasters, including nursing home and social work negligence
- Large-scale human rights violations
- Sexual abuse claims
- Sports-related litigation
- And more
Any instance of a negligent party causing similar physical injury to many people can be the source of a class action lawsuit.
Consumer Class Action
Any business entity that engages in fraudulent or illegal activity can be held accountable through class action. This is true if their systematic negligence causes similar harm to many consumers.
Some of the most common examples of consumer class actions include market allocation agreements, monopolies, and price-fixing.
If a group of employees has been discriminated against, they may attempt to form a class and sue. Employment lawsuits can involve many different types of circumstances.
Some typical employment class actions involve:
- Wide-spread discrimination within a company
- Immigrant worker rights cases
- Wage theft and hour issues
- Workplace injury cases
- Employer safety regulation violation claims
In these cases, class action suits can overlap with worker protection regulations.
Large Class Action Cases in U.S. History
While many class action cases are filed each year, some involve massive amounts of compensation for the victims of negligence. Below, we will examine a few of the largest class action lawsuits and settlements in U.S. history.
Volkswagen Emission Lawsuit
In 2019, a settlement of $14.7 billion was approved for the claimants in a class action suit against the Volkswagen automobile company. The motor vehicle manufacturer installed hundreds of thousands of “defeat devices” in their diesel-run cars.
These pieces of technology allowed their cars to fraudulently pass emissions tests for the U.S. market. The result was that Volkswagen defrauded American emissions regulators and consumers.
The suit was filed by the Environmental Protection agency in 2016. As a result, the settlement included a $10 billion program to buy back these inefficient vehicles.
BP Oil Spill Lawsuit
The BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig was located off the coast of Louisiana. In April of 2010, the rig exploded. In this disaster, eleven rig workers were killed and seventeen were injured.
As a result of the explosion, tens of thousands of barrels worth of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. This oil leak lasted from April to September of 2010.
The BP oil spill polluted over 1,100 miles of shoreline. The environmental effects can still be seen today.
In 2015, the United States federal government joined five states to sue BP. As a result, BP settled for $20 million. This was one of the largest class action cases ever.
Big Tobacco Settlement
The largest class action settlement in American history was paid by Big Tobacco companies. In 1998, the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was signed.
Attorneys general in 46 states and others reached the settlement in their class action lawsuit against the four largest tobacco manufacturers in the country. Big tobacco had been involved in lawsuits for more than 25 years.
As a result of this enormous class action suit, the four tobacco manufacturers were required to pay over $206 billion to claimants. They also pay $9 billion annually in perpetuity.
This enormous case was a response to years of damage done by tobacco marketing. Much of the marketing was targeted toward children, even while the companies knew that tobacco was dangerous and addictive.
If you have a valid class action claim, do not hesitate to contact a skilled legal professional. The accomplished team at Morgan & Morgan has the skills and experience to handle big class action lawsuits effectively.
How Are Attorneys’ Fees Handled in Class Action Lawsuits?
Most class action cases are handled through a contingency fee payment structure. When a lawyer is paid with contingency fees, they do not receive payment unless they secure financial recovery for the client.
The client and attorney agree to a percentage of the recovery from the lawsuit. Once the lawyer recovers compensation, that percentage is used to cover the costs of legal services.
In large class action suits, the attorneys’ fees and court costs are often addressed during the case. In some instances, the courts will approve the proposed costs of the lawsuit.
At Morgan & Morgan, we believe that victims deserve justice regardless of their economic status. That is why our team operates on contingency. If you do not get paid, neither do we.
Morgan & Morgan Is Ready to Fight for You!
When you have a valid claim that you share with many others, a class action lawsuit may be right for you. If you need legal representation, look no further than America’s largest personal injury law firm.
The skilled legal experts at Morgan & Morgan have years of experience handling class action cases. Since our founding in 1988, we have won more than $15 billion for our clients.
We are confident that we can recover the money that is rightfully yours. That is why you will pay nothing unless we secure compensation for you.
Fill out the contact form on the Morgan & Morgan website to schedule a free case evaluation today. Our accomplished legal team is ready to fight for you!