Bring on the Class Actions, San Francisco!

According to the Associated Press, a total of 89 class action lawsuits have been filed against Toyota nationwide as of Monday, which could result in 3billion in payouts (if each individual receives around $500). Speaking of Class Action Lawsuits, have you ever received a notice in the mail from the courts that you are a member of a class action lawsuit and wondered what the heck it means? Then, not knowing what was the best thing to do or what you really could gain or lose from taking action, thrown the notice in the garbage? Here at the Brod Law Firm, we believe in the class action suit, as they give the everyday, hardworking citizens a chance to fight large corporations and private entities. So, with that said, we would like to give a brief tutorial about class actions for our readers, for the next time they might receive notice from the courts or have a potential class action claim of their own.
Let’s say you buy a car with faulty brakes and contact the company who makes the car, asking them what they will do to fix the problem. Then they delay or avoid taking responsibility for the issue, leaving you frustrated enough to hire an attorney. At that point your attorney will do some research and file a lawsuit on your behalf, and any other parties involved, and the company is put on notice. Then your attorney takes some depostions and asks the court to certify the case as a class action, meaning all people in the same circumstance get redress. Next, the court directs that notice be given to all parties having a similar claim during a particular time period. Those parties are then to be notified (usually by the defendants’ attorney) so that they may be informed and have input into the case. At that time, all parties, including the persons who bring the claim, are treated equally.
So basically, what a class action does is it allows cases that have merit to be filed that would otherwise be too expensive to litigate had they been filed individually. In the course of a class action case, several notices are mailed to class members, giving them a chance to “opt-out”. If they choose to “opt-out”, they have no further standing in the case. They can forget the matter or bring about file an action on their own behalf. If a party does not “opt-out,” they are considered to be a party to the case. From that point on you are bound by court’s decision and prohibited from taking any further action in the matter. The case could settle quickly or take years. Then, at the end, the parties will either reach an agreement, and the judge will approve the fairness and propriety of the settlement, or the case is tried and the judge renders a decision.
Anyone who feels they have a potential class action case should call the Brod Law Firm at 415-397-1130.