Class Action Lawyer in Pittsburgh603 Stanwix St., Suite 1825
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
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Class Action Lawyers in Pittsburgh
As a plaintiff taking legal action against another party, you have to gather and organize enough physical evidence to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Filing an individual lawsuit concerns just your unique legal situation. It does not involve one or more other plaintiffs that have experienced a similar fate caused by the negligent actions of another party. What if your case is similar to the legal circumstances experienced by one or more other plaintiffs?
The answer is your best legal option is to file a class action lawsuit that represents multiple plaintiffs seeking justice for the same legal matter.
Class action lawsuits receive publicity when a legal issue impacts a large number of plaintiffs. For example, the recent publicity given to the victims of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune represents a perfect example of the legal impetus behind filing a class action lawsuit. A large group of plaintiffs facing the same negative health issues has bonded together to pursue legal action against the federal government. To save both time and money, the plaintiffs decided to file one civil lawsuit instead of flooding the judicial system with dozens of lawsuits covering the same legal issues.
If you face a legal issue that other potential plaintiffs also face, one of the class action lawyers in Pittsburgh can help you decide whether to pursue legal action on your own or pool resources with other plaintiffs to take legal action as a group. Although filing a class action lawsuit delivers several benefits, taking legal action as a member of a group might not be in your best interest. Perhaps your case includes one or more unique legal factors or joining a class of plaintiffs does not provide you with the compensation that you deserve.
At Morgan and Morgan, our team of class action lawyers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has accumulated more than 30 years of experience either initiating class action lawsuits or helping clients navigate the process for joining a civil lawsuit that involves multiple plaintiffs. We explain the pros and cons of taking collective legal action, as well as help gather the evidence required to make a class action lawsuit successful for every plaintiff.
To learn more about how one of our class action lawyers in Pittsburgh can help you, schedule a free case evaluation with a Morgan and Morgan attorney.
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What Defines a Class Action Lawsuit?
Filing or joining a class action lawsuit means you take legal action against another party with one or more other plaintiffs. The plaintiffs joining a class action lawsuit must have sustained similar financial losses that often include the cost of diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating personal injuries. The experienced class action lawyers in Pittsburgh have represented clients that have not sustained injuries but have suffered substantial financial losses. Cases that involve financial losses without sustaining personal injuries typically involve some type of theft.
A private citizen or a leader of an organization can file a class action lawsuit to recover the costs associated with the same type of negligence committed by the same defendant. In the Camp Lejeune example, the class of plaintiffs consists of former members of the military that stayed at the facility long enough to be exposed to contaminated water. The lead plaintiff can file a class action lawsuit in a state or federal court, depending on the type of law violated by the defendant. Plaintiffs joining together for taking action in the Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit have filed their case with a court within federal jurisdiction.
What Is the First Step in Getting Involved in a Class Action Lawsuit?
If you do not initiate a class action lawsuit as the lead plaintiff, you have to decide whether to join a group of plaintiffs that take the same legal action against the same defendant. This means you have to decide whether to opt in or opt out of a class action lawsuit. The first step in getting involved in joining a lawsuit with other plaintiffs requires the legal advice provided by one of the class action lawyers in Pittsburgh from Morgan and Morgan.
Deciding to join a class of plaintiffs with the same legal issues means you have opted in to join a class action lawsuit. Otherwise, you can take legal action on your own or decide not to take legal action in any form. The judicial system gives you a limited amount of time to decide whether to opt in or out of a class action lawsuit. Sense of urgency is often the basis for the commercials you see on television that publicize a class action lawsuit, such as the ones initiated for cases like Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
What Is the Role of the Lead Plaintiff?
If you decide to participate in a class action lawsuit, you can initiate the legal action as the lead plaintiff. Lead plaintiffs that file class action lawsuits represent an entire group of plaintiffs that have sustained similar injuries and/or suffered financial losses caused by the same type or types of negligence. For example, the lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit regarding Camp Lejeune represents plaintiffs that have developed similar types of cancer produced by prolonged exposure to contaminated drinking, cooking, and bathing water.
A lead plaintiff’s name is the name listed on the formal document announcing the filing of a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Although the lead plaintiff of a class action lawsuit is typically the first plaintiff to hire one of the class action lawyers in Pittsburgh, the group of litigators involved in a class action lawsuit might select another co-plaintiff to assume the role of the group leader. The reasons for selecting a lead plaintiff other than the original plaintiff include the ability to handle the stress related to a trial or a lack of knowledge concerning the technical aspects of a case.
Choosing the right lead plaintiff is especially important for high-profile cases that receive considerable media scrutiny, such as the cases involving Monsanto’s Roundup and the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Another reason to select the right lead plaintiff concerns the option to negotiate a settlement. Although the lead plaintiff’s lawyer might agree to negotiate a settlement, the other litigators that form the legal team in a class action lawsuit might prefer to take the case to the trial phase of the litigation process. Hiring a team of class action lawyers in Pittsburgh from Morgan and Morgan can help you decide as the lead plaintiff whether to negotiate a favorable settlement or take the class action lawsuit to trial.
Why Should I Join a Class Action Lawsuit?
Let’s assume you decide to take legal action against another party that committed an act of negligence that caused you to sustain injuries and suffer financial losses. You discover during the research process that another victim has decided to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Should you form a partnership with the other victim and file a class action lawsuit or instead, file an individual lawsuit that seeks monetary damages?
Filing an individual lawsuit produces a higher value for monetary damages because you do not have to share the financial award with other plaintiffs. However, filing or joining a class action lawsuit delivers several advantages rather than going it alone against another party.
First, you share the legal responsibilities required for filing an individual civil lawsuit. Instead of one of the class action lawyers in Pittsburgh from Morgan and Morgan conducting a solo investigation, a group of litigators shares the duties of gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. Sharing legal responsibilities also means you pay less in legal fees. A group of plaintiffs filing a class action lawsuit increases the chances of you receiving just compensation for sustaining injuries and suffering financial losses.
What Is Required to Prove Negligence for a Class Action Lawsuit?
Proving negligence for a class action lawsuit follows the same steps followed for proving negligence for an individual civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Duty of Care
The attorneys representing a group of plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit must show the defendant owed the plaintiffs a duty of care. The duty of care doctrine requires one party to be held responsible for the well-being of another party. In the Monsanto Roundup product liability case, Monsanto owed the buyers of its herbicide a duty of care to manufacture a product that does not cause physical harm to any user of the product. Establishing that a defendant owes a duty of care is usually the easiest element for proving negligence.
Breaching the Duty of Care Doctrine
As the second element of proving negligence, demonstrating the defendant breached the duty of care doctrine involves collecting persuasive physical evidence and submitting the sworn statements made by witnesses. In our Camp Lejeune example, the group of plaintiffs has to show the defendant knew about the contaminated water and did nothing to prevent it from harming everyone exposed to it. For a class action lawsuit, showing the defendant breached the duty of care doctrine involves every member of the class of plaintiffs submitting physical evidence and providing witness statements.
The negligent actions taken by the defendant must have produced some type of harm to the group of plaintiffs. For instance, prolonged exposure to the herbicide Roundup must be directly linked to the development of the types of cancer that are associated with the herbicide. Proving causation requires the submission of medical records that include the results of diagnostic tests completed around the same time as falling victim to one or more negligent acts committed by the defendant. The legal team representing the defendant might try to argue that the group of plaintiffs filing a class action lawsuit sustained their injuries or symptoms of a serious disease as a result of a different incident.
Negligence Caused Financial Losses
To receive approval for compensation, you and the other plaintiffs filing a class action lawsuit must prove you have suffered financial losses. This involves submitting copies of bank records and timekeeping records. How much you deserve to cover the financial losses caused by the negligent act or acts committed by the plaintiff depends on the extent of your injuries or the symptoms that develop from a disease.
Determine whether your case should be litigated as a class action lawsuit by scheduling a free case evaluation today with one of the class action lawyers in Pittsburgh from Morgan and Morgan.