Qualifying as a class action
There are federal and South Carolina court rules that must be met in order for a legal dispute to be resolved through a class action lawsuit. The basic elements needed for a case to be certified by the court as a class action are:
- Number of people affected by the violation. There have to be so many possible plaintiffs and current or potential lawsuits against a defendant that it is practical or efficient to join the cases together rather than try them separately in individual lawsuits.
- Same claims. Claims need to raise common legal or factual issues, making it efficient to deal with all claims together.
- Typical cases. The people named as plaintiffs and their representatives have the same claims or defenses as the larger class of claimants.
- Representatives provide fair and adequate protection for the class. The named plaintiffs and class lawyers provide proper representation for the class. The courts look at the lawyers’ competency and also consider the named plaintiffs. That is why, for example, someone with a history of fraud is not considered the right plaintiff in a class action involving consumer banking issues.
The experienced class action attorneys of Lewis Babcock LLP are well prepared to advise you on whether your claim would be best handled as part of a class action.
Once the complaint is filed — starting the lawsuit — and the class is certified, the case could take more or less time to resolve than an individual lawsuit. Much depends on the defendant in the case, and a class action could settle in several months or go on for years. Most often, the class action ends with a settlement.
The court must approve the settlement, and does so upon finding it fair and reasonable to the class. Attorneys’ fees are part of the court’s approval process, and those fees are typically a percentage of the funds paid to the class. You do not have to pay any money out of pocket in order to participate in a class action.
Can a class action help you?
Whether you are thinking of filing a new class action or joining a pending one, contact the experienced class action lawyers of Lewis Babcock LLP. Based upon your own circumstances and losses, we can advise on whether it is a better idea for you to get involved in a class action or to follow proper procedures to opt out and bring your own individual lawsuit. The larger your loss or damages are, the more you need to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to decide if the class action is right for you.
Contact our office for advice and support
Lewis Babcock LLP exists to help right the wrong when professional malpractice leaves you with losses, a business or land dispute threatens your financial interests, or the negligence or wrongdoing of a corporation, government entity or individual causes you harm. For more information about how the laws apply to your situation and to find out how the firm can help you, contact Lewis Babcock LLP online or call our offices at 803-771-8000 to arrange an appointment.