Seeking Justice for Groups of Injured Parties—Class Action and Mass Tort Lawyers
Whether you have been injured by a dangerous drug, hazardous product, unfair or illegal employment practice, or securities market manipulation, you might be one of a large number harmed by the same type of misconduct or unsafe product. When a large number of people suffer injuries caused in a similar way, a class action or mass tort litigation might constitute the best avenue to holding the responsible entity accountable and seeking compensation for the many victims. The complex legal issues, sophistication of the discovery process, and logistical challenges of pursuing lawsuits involving many parties against large national and international corporations requires extensive litigation experience and a proven track record in large scale litigation. Our Chicago mass tort and class action lawyers have over 45 years of cumulative experience representing injury victims, and our efforts have yielded over $40 million in recoveries for our clients.
Understanding Class Action Lawsuits
In a class action lawsuit, a single individual or a few people represent a large group of people with a similar claim or who have experienced a comparable harm. While a class action can be pursued in either state or federal court, defendants typically attempt to have cases “removed” to federal court, which has been made easier since enactment of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. The basic objective behind a class action suit is to streamline the litigation process when a large number of people have been affected, so there are simply too many claimants to have every legal claim move forward through an individual lawsuit. Examples of class actions include:
- Unsafe medical device claims (e.g. breast implants, metallic hip implants)
- Actions involving defective products (e.g. asbestos, tobacco)
- Dangerous drug cases (e.g. contraceptive drugs Yaz, Yasmin)
- Securities actions (e.g. forms of market manipulation)
- Employment disputes (e.g. wage & hour claims, mass termination)
A lawsuit is transformed into a class action if one or several plaintiffs, referred to as the “Lead Plaintiffs”, file a claim indicating some type of harm. The Lead Plaintiffs will ask the judge to certify the case as a class action. If the court certifies the class, the judge will issue an order indicating that the members of the class receive notification of the action. Generally, all affected individuals will be considered a member of the class unless they affirmatively opt out. Members of the class are not involved in the day-to-day activities of the class action nor do they have input in decisions about whether to settle the case. Rather, the Lead Plaintiffs will consult with their attorneys to determine litigation strategy and/or whether to settle the claim based on a settlement offer.
Once the case is resolved, the court will issue orders indicating the manner by which the proceeds of the lawsuit should be divided between members of the class. The court also will typically determine the attorney fees and costs to be awarded to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, which usually will be based on a percentage of the recovery.
Mass Tort Actions Distinguished
Mass tort actions provide an alternative way to pursue a similar type of claim. The attorneys for the plaintiff can elect to sign up other parties in a similar situation. The claims of all of the plaintiffs are joined in a single “mass action.” Since mass torts are not governed by the detailed procedural steps and maneuvers involved in a class action, the cases can be more difficult for both plaintiffs and defendants, as well as the court. Class actions follow a common path that includes negotiating between class counsel and representatives, notice, and court scrutiny, but a party dealing with a mass tort action might not be able to navigate a comparable uniform pattern toward settlement of all claims.
Representing Injured Parties in Large Scale Litigation
Our Chicago mass tort and class action lawyers diligently pursue compensation on behalf of groups of people harmed by large corporations. Our law firm can provide the perfect balance of experience, expertise, empathy, diligence, and tenacity to help you obtain the best possible outcome for you and your family. We invite you to contact us today at (312) 422-0500 or email us to schedule your no obligation free consultation.
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