Answering Questions About Class Actions
The attorneys at Crawford & Brown Law Firm LLP can help you determine whether your case could be a class action. A class action is a lawsuit for many people who have been treated similarly. This area of the law has changed rapidly over the past several years, but to a large extent, the song remains the same. Understanding these ideas can help you identify consumer complaints that may be successfully brought as a class action.
What is class certification?
Class certification is a formal decision by a judge that people in a group have claims that are similar enough to be considered together. For a class to be certified, the wrongful conduct directed at the class representative must have occurred to many other people. According to many courts, this “numerosity” requirement is satisfied if at least 40 people have been treated similarly. At Crawford & Brown Law Firm, we like to use electronic records to show that many other people have suffered the same wrong as the class representative. This sort of proof is particularly effective when the claim is for the breach of form contracts or for violations of statutes.
What do you have to do to win class certification?
To win class certification, the plaintiff must also show that his or her claim is like the claims of the absent class members. These are the requirements of commonality and typicality. To satisfy the commonality requirement, the plaintiff must show that some of the legal and factual questions of his or her claim are the same as the claims of the absent class members. Typicality is satisfied if the plaintiff’s claim is similar to the claims of the absent class members.
Here again, electronic records can show that people have experienced similar mistreatment. Lawyers at Crawford & Brown Law Firm have extensive experience working with computer records. These records were indispensable in crafting settlement relief criteria in a universal life insurance premium case in federal court in the Middle District of Georgia. In another case, electronic records secured from the defendant and a credit reporting agency helped our lawyers win class certification in what is believed to be the first nationwide breach of contract class ever certified over a defendant’s objection in the Georgia court system.
A class representative must also show that he or she and the lawyers will adequately represent the class. Our lawyers have prepared for and handled class certification hearings in cases where millions of dollars were at stake. They have also helped hundreds of class members around the country with the implementation of a groundbreaking settlement of a universal life case. Just like the lawyers, a class representative has special duties to the class members. At our firm, we make sure the class representative understands these duties the minute we begin looking at the case for class treatment.
For a class to be certified, the representative must also show that either the defendant should be ordered to stop some illegal practice or that the classwide questions predominate over individual issues. Here again, it is important to carefully consider class certification issues from the outset of the case. Cases in which a defendant is violating a statute are good cases to seek injunctive or declaratory relief.
Our lawyers have worked on or are investigating class actions against banks, mortgage lenders, life insurance companies, credit insurance companies, cell phone providers, employers and even the United States government. Whether you are a consumer who has been mistreated or a lawyer with a client who might have a claim suitable for class treatment, please contact us so we can help you figure out if your claim may have class action potential.
Free personal injury consultation: Contact a lawyer at Crawford & Brown Law Firm LLP in Columbus, Georgia, for a free initial consultation. Call us at 706-748-8382 to arrange for an appointment with a lawyer.