Barriers in Class Action Lawsuits

courthouse.jpgA class action lawsuit is a type of litigation where a large number of people with a common interest in a matter sue or are sued as a group. This type of legal action provides a convenient way to resolve disputes between large numbers of individuals with similar interests in one case. San Francisco class action lawyers know that class action lawsuits not only save the court time, but they can also be one of the only ways that litigants are able to bring realistically hold certain big interests accountable for their conduct.

Under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, class action lawsuits can be seeking money damages or other remedies. Under the rule unnamed class members to a class action are bound by the judgment. However, in order to be bound the unnamed class members must be given adequate notice, adequate representation, and adequate opportunity to opt out before judgment. If you believe that you could be a member of a class action lawsuit it is advisable to contact a San Francisco class action attorney to determine your rights.

The issue of class action lawsuits recently made the news when AT&T lost a suit to wireless subscriber Matt Spaccarelli. Spaccarelli sued the company for slowing down his wireless service after he used 1.5 to 2 GB within one month in his unlimited data plan. Spaccarelli won his suit and was awarded $850, but AT&T was not forced to change its policy of slowing down service in unlimited plans. According to CNET it was not that Spaccarelli won that was surprising, but rather the fact that he was unable to bring a class action lawsuit against the wireless giant due to a clause contained in most wireless provider/subscriber contracts.

In 2011 the United States Supreme Court held that companies have the right to include clauses in contracts which disallow their subscribers to bring class action lawsuits against them. All four major wireless providers in American include such a clause in their contract. In AT&T’s case this leaves their subscribers with the option of utilizing the AT&T-funded arbitration program or filing in small claims court. Since over 90% of the country utilizes a cell phone, these clauses limit the legal rights of a substantial percentage of the country.

Experts, including California class action lawyers, differ on the effects of this type of clause in wireless provider/subscriber contracts. Some experts believe that the system of arbitration and small claims courts in inefficient and creates inconsistent rulings. Class action lawsuits have often been the catalysts for corporate change. Other experts believe that social media can have the same effect on corporate change without the sizeable expense of a class action lawsuit.

In any event, any time that you suspect that you have been hurt by a dangerous product or unfair practice-even if only in small ways-it is important to consult a Bay Area class action injury attorney such as the knowledgeable lawyers of Brod Firm. An attorney at the Brod Firm can help you determine what the best option is for your particular case in a free consultation. Call 800-427-7020 to schedule today.

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