Columbus Class Action Lawyers
Helping Consumers Involved In Class Actions
When companies defraud innocent consumers, charge excessive fees, break contracts or break the law, often you are not the only victim. At Crawford & Brown Law Firm LLP, in Columbus, Georgia, our lawyers represent individuals and businesses in class action lawsuits against businesses that commit fraud and other wrongful actions.
There are four main types of wrongful actions that can lead to a consumer class action lawsuit:
- Fraud. When a company fails to keep its promises or fails to do what it said it would do to get your business and the failure was intentional, it may very well be fraud. Most scams, in fact, result from the fact that many unscrupulous companies never intended to keep their promises or do what they said they would do.
- Breach of contract. An example would be an insurance company that increases premiums when it does not have a contractual right to do so.
- Illegal fee. This is when a company charges a fee that is deceptive or not allowed by law.
- Statutory violation. Sometimes state or federal law will give consumers specific rights. For example, Georgia has a statute that makes lenders liable for liquidated damages when they are too slow to cancel security deeds after a mortgage loan is paid off.
Our Columbus class action lawyers are highly experienced at filing consumer class action lawsuits. We secured the first nationwide adversarial class certification in the Georgia court system. We are familiar with the issues involved in the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which is designed to put a lot of class actions into federal court. We also have relationships with other class action lawyers across the country, which enable us to respond quickly when businesses commit similar wrongful actions to consumers in more than one state.
Consumer Class Actions Handled By Our Lawyers*
Consumer Class Action Case – ‘Universal Life’ Insurance Policies
McBride v. Life of Virginia, now known as GE Life Annuity & Assurance Co. — The litigation related to “universal life” insurance policies and, more specifically, the administration of those policies with respect to periodic premium charges. Robert McBride, for instance, saw his $150 monthly premium, which he had paid regularly for 13 years, unilaterally increased by the company every year on his birthday, starting around the 14th year of his policy. Ultimately, Mr. McBride’s premium obligation tripled.
The issue for class purposes was whether GE Life had the contractual right to take such actions with respect to class members like Robert McBride. During the litigation, GE Life produced the equivalent of millions of pages of electronically stored policyholder information, and the company was forced to provide discovery of user-created documents that had previously been unsearchable and scattered throughout the company’s system. Settlement negotiations began in earnest, leading to a truly innovative settlement that obtained massive benefits for the class.
The settlement made available more than $153 million in real relief to the class members, including the opportunity to receive a guarantee from the company that premiums for qualifying class members could not be increased by the company during the life of the policies.
Credit Insurance Unearned Premium Litigation
Jason Crawford and Dustin Brown have worked extensively prosecuting nationwide litigation involving the credit insurance industry. The claims relate to these insurance companies’ practice of failing to refund unearned premiums owed to class members when class members’ loans are paid off early, and cases are pending all over the country in state and federal courts with respect to such claims. In the first of these cases to reach the certification stage, the Muscogee County Superior Court certified a nationwide class at the end of a daylong hearing handled by Jason Crawford on behalf of the class. This class certification order approving class action treatment was affirmed in its entirety on July 10, 2006, by the Georgia Court of Appeals, and on Oct. 30, 2006, the Supreme Court of Georgia declined to review that decision of the Georgia Court of Appeals, thereby upholding the trial court’s order certifying a nationwide class in its entirety.
In proving class treatment was appropriate and necessary to address this conduct, Crawford crafted a novel approach to obtaining evidence from a credit reporting agency that established the insurance companies’ obligation to pay refunds to those class members whose underlying loans were, in fact, paid off early.
More consumer class action verdicts and settlements
*The lawyers of Crawford & Brown Law Firm LLP were involved in the representation of these cases while they were attorneys at the law firm of Butler, Wooten, Fryhofer, Daughtery & Crawford, LLP.