How it Works
Here is a step-by-Step guide on how to file a class action:
Step 1: Is there an actual case that can be made?
- A lawyer needs to do some digging after someone contacts him or her about a potential class action. He or she would need to figure out if the case has numeralitiy and commonality.
- Example- A person contacts a lawyer regarding his washing machine breaking after owning it for only one year. The lawyer would conduct some research and find out that many people had the same issue. However, he would then need to figure out whether the appliances were breaking as a result of mistreatment by the consumers or due to faulty production by the company. It wouldn’t have been enough for the lawyer to just find people with the same issue to make it a class action
Step 2: File the Lawsuit
- Once a lawyer determines there is a class action can be filed, then he or she will draft the complaint. The complaint will encompass all the details of the case, establish the class, as well as state what the damages and compensation sought.
Step 3: Certification by the Courts
- Completing steps 1 and 2 do not make the suit a class action. The presiding judge over the case must certify the case as such in order for it to be given a class action status. This process is known as certification.
Step 4: Discovery of Evidence
- This is the investigatory phase of a lawsuit where the lawyers will request and collect documents and other information from the company being sued to help prove the allegations filed against them. This is also when interviews and statements from the class are presented as evidence as well
Step 5: Resolutions
- Many class action settle before going to trial. This usually means that the defendant will agree to pay a certain amount as compensation for the victims. It’s up to the judge to determine whether the amount provides fair and adequate compensation. If the case does not settle, then the case will be brought to trial.
Step 6: Notification to the Class
Once a lawsuit is settled, the attorneys will issue a notice to the class members informing them of the settlement. The members of the class can then either accept their share of the settlement or opt out of receiving compensation.