Many of us have received a notice of class action in the past, either by email or a physical letter. These notices are sent to those who may have a connection to a lawsuit filed against a defendant where there is a large number of people potentially affected. But what do they mean, and what do you do with it?
What is Class Action?
Class action refers to a lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of people that have all been affected similarly by a person, a group, a company or a product. A class-action lawsuit may also be called simply a class suit or representative action. You may potentially be a part of the “class” being represented as a customer, prior employee or have some other association that required the parties involved to notify you of the suit that’s been filed.
What Should You Do First?
As soon as you receive the notice, be sure to read all the information provided. Legally, all the essential details you need to make an informed decision about your participation in the lawsuit will be provided, and the steps you need to take depending on your decision. You are most likely familiar with the company or people involved in the class action lawsuit, but it’s important to do some research if you aren’t. You may not recognize the names, but there could be a connection with a company or people you do know.
What are Your Options?
When deciding whether to participate in the class action suit or not, you have three options. Which you choose will largely depend on whether you feel you qualify in the case and to what degree.
- Class Member: As a class member in a class-action lawsuit, you typically do not need to do much else, and most are automatically added to the suit even if you don’t respond. Those included as class members give up the right to bring a private claim against the defendant in the future.
- Named Plaintiff: If your damages are extensive or unique, you may seek legal representation within the class action lawsuit. You and your attorney would play a more active role in the case.
- Opting Out: While being a class member usually has few disadvantages, there are some reasons why you’d want to opt out of a class-action lawsuit. If you plan to file a private claim against the defendant in the future, for example, or if your experiences are different from those addressed in the lawsuit.
If you’ve received a notice of class action and would like to know more about your options, as well as potential representation, contact Conley Griggs Partin for a consultation.
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