Why a class action?
A class action is an effective procedural device used to rectify alleged wrongdoings caused to a large number of individuals and/or entities where individually the damages are insufficient to support the cost of bringing individual claims, or, the repeated litigation of the alleged wrongdoing is deemed excessively costly and time-consuming dictating that the most effective manner to bring and/or to resolve the entire matter is the use of a class action.
- Joining a Class Action
- Can you withdraw from a class once you’ve opted in?
- Pros and Cons of Filing Outside of the Class
Joining a Class Action
If you’re looking at a newspaper and there is a notice of a class action, typically there will be in that notice a law firm or a claims administrator to contact to ask for further information. That would be the way to go in that situation. You see the notice and you think you might be a member, you contact the claims administration or the attorney, get the paperwork, fill out a claim, and then see whether or not you are part of the class.
If it is a newspaper article or blog post that doesn’t list who the attorney is, you can contact an experienced class action attorney like myself in Reno and ask about your rights; bring in the newspaper article, and see where it goes from there. You should do so as soon as possible because you only have a limited time to file.
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Typically, when you get a notice of a class action, there is a limited time to fill out a claim form and at least figure out your rights and what to do. Usually, your rights are basically opt-out classes, so if you don’t want to be in the class, you send in the paperwork. If you do not send in the paperwork, then you are automatically part of the class. Again, if you’re not sure, contact us and we’ll help you figure it out.
Can You Withdraw from A Class Once You’ve Opted In?
Say the case is in its infancy and you get a notice that there is a class. You decide not to opt out, so you are part of the class. And then a couple of years later there is a settlement. Under the rules, a notice of that settlement has to be sent out to the class members.
When the class members see the notice, at that point in time they have the right to object to the settlement.
Pros and Cons of Filing Outside of The Class
Say it’s a small dollar amount – less than $500. Just to initiate your own lawsuit is going to be a couple hundred dollars of expense, so to bring your own lawsuit is definitely a cost that you’d have to take into account as to whether you want to stay in or not. The benefit is that you get to control your own litigation, and you get to decide how you want to advocate for yourself.
You can’t be forced to join a class action. It’s either you stay in, or you can opt-out, and you can bring your own lawsuit or you can also opt out and decide not to file a lawsuit at all, and then you’re not having any money issues.