If someone is a lead attorney in a class action and you have one member of the class, or maybe 2 or 3 members of what is a large class, who are particularly injured over the rest of the class, when the special master is reviewing and trying to calculate what the damages are, can the lead attorney ever advocate for damages on particular claimants?
No. The attorney in the class action represents all members of the lawsuit. When you’re appointed as counsel for the class, your duties are to the class as a whole and you can’t put the interests of one or two class members above anybody else. The duty is to present the damages for everybody with the same emphasis and not advocate for any one over the other.
We might have a spreadsheet for the damages where claimant #1 is a dollar amount, claimant #2 is some different dollar amount, and so on, down to the last claimant on the list, and then the Special Master works off of that.
We, as class counsel, advocate for all types of damages. We ask for emotional and physical damages as well as diminishment property damages as a whole and then make suggestions as to how those should be awarded and what we think is a proper measure for damages are. But we never advocate saying, “Well, this one particular plaintiff should get more than anybody else.” We just make arguments for the types of damages that should be awarded.