An Introduction To Class Actions

When a man-made disaster impacts our state, our California class action attorney is prepared to help. In cases involving toxic torts, such as a California oil refinery accident, The Brod Law Firm is prepared to use the tool of either a federal or state class action to ease the burden on individual plaintiffs and allow an entire group of victims to prove their case collectively.

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The most likely reason to bring a class action suit in federal court, instead of state court, is the diversity doctrine. This means that the suit involves at least one plaintiff who is a citizen of a different state than one or more of the defendants. For these purposes, companies are citizens of the state where they have their principle place of business. In order to file as a federal class, the plaintiffs must show four things: 1) Commonality (one or more issues is common to the whole class and, often, these common issues dominate over individual matters); 2) Adequacy (the selected representative can effectively protect the interests of all members of the class); 3) Numerosity (the class is large enough that individual lawsuits are not practical, making a class action a better method for resolving the matters); and 4) Typicality (the claim of the representative stems from a wrong to the class and is typical of the claims of the class members). These requirements aim to make sure that a class action is the best method for resolving a dispute and that a proper lead plaintiff is selected to represent the class in court.

Class actions can also be brought under state law. A few examples of the types of claims that might give rise to a class action in California are employment law violations, defective products claims, and consumer protection litigation. The rules governing class actions in California are a mix of guidance from statutes passed by the legislature and interpretations developed by state courts. Some of the basic requirements for a state class action mirror the requirements under federal law. California courts will also be more likely to grant certification of a class if doing so will serve a benefit to the class or to the citizens of the state as a whole and if the claims would be unlikely to be heard individually.

The selection of a lead plaintiff is an important part of any class action. Often the lead plaintiff is the person who reached out and got counsel involved in the matter but this is not always the case. The lead plaintiff must be deemed adequate by the court because the individual will work with the attorney to represent the interests of the entire class. The lead plaintiff should be someone whose claims are similar to that of the group as a whole and who is prepared to act on behalf of the entire class.

Class actions are complicated but they can be a useful tool when many individuals are impacted by the same wrongful act. The Brod Law Firm is prepared to act as class counsel in cases of San Francisco workplace accidents or when other incidents lead a group of victims with similar claims. If you believe you have suffered an injury that might give rise to a class action at either the state or federal level, please contact us for a free consultation. We will work closely with members of the class to ensure justice is achieved for all members of your class.

See Related Blog Posts:
The Importance of Healthy Workplaces: The Asbestos Example
U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes will affect the certification of many class-action lawsuits