What is Class Action Law?
The Class Action law was drafted to enable a group of people or a representative, to file a claim in court against a class of defendants. A class action or a representative action is a lawsuit where a group of people, usually large in number, collectively bring about a claim to court. This collective lawsuit is a practical way to address a concern that is common or of general interest to people so numerous that it would be impractical and inefficient to join all as parties, thus the court finds a sufficient number of them and representatives, to fully protect the interests of all concerned, and would be the ones to sue or defend for the benefit of all.
What are the elements of a class action law suit?
Any party in interest have the rights to intervene in order to protect their individual interests, with this in mind, the elements of a class action lawsuit are:
1. The subject matter related to the controversy must be of a common or general interest related to the group filing the suit;
2. The subject matter must be of common or general interest to people so numerous that it would be deemed impracticable to join them all as parties;
3. Those who may sue or defend for the benefit of all concerned, must be of such a number that the court fins sufficiently numerous and representative;
4. Such a number must be sufficiently numerous and representative so as to fully protect the interests of all concerned.
By its very nature, a personal injury must exist first in order for a class suit to prosper; however, such personal injury must happen to so many people.
Like in the case of a shipwreck that claims many victims, or a nuclear plant meltdown that destroys a whole city; each individual passenger in the ship or resident in that city, is personally injured, and thus are part of the group that may file a class law suit.
What are the classifications of a Class Action Law?
As with all civil laws, Class Action Law is classified into two: negligence cases and intentional torts. Negligence cases stem from situations wherein the cause of injury is because of carelessness in the part of the defendant, causing harm or injury to the people concerned. It is when someone does not intend to cause harm or does not have criminal intents, yet causes injury to the people around them because of not doing their obligation to keep the safety of society. Negligence is the failure to observe the degree of care, vigilance, and precaution which present circumstances justly demand, where the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of other people, causes those said people to suffer injury. On the other hand, intentional tort stems from a situation where the defendant intends to commit acts that lead to injury. The extent of the injury nor whether the injury is intended or not, does not usually matter in an intentional tort case.
What are the advantages of filing a Class Action Law Suit?
There are five main advantages of filing a class action law suit as a group, as opposed to filing multiple individual cases:
1. For one thing, it would be more cheap and cost-effective for the people who suffered the injury. The cost of litigation could be sufficiently lowered, and the efficiency of the legal process increased. Because the cases are all the same in nature, the witnesses, evidences, and issues from trial to trial would be the same for each case, it would save the court from the necessity of reviewing the same things over and over again.
2. Second, the class action lawsuit overcomes the problem of small recoveries that don’t really provide ample incentives for any individual to bring a solo action that prosecute his rights. By aggregating the paltry potential recoveries into something worth someone’s labor, this is avoided.
3. Third, a class action case may be the way to purposely change the behavior of a certain class in which a defendant is a member of.
4. In cases of limited funds, the class action suite ensures all the plaintiffs are compensated, and that the plaintiffs who filed earlier, don’t raid the the defendant of all its assets before the others can be compensated as well. The class action allows all claims to be centralized in one venue, wherein the court can easily divide the centralized assets among all the plaintiffs in the event that they win the case.
5. Lastly, the class action avoids the situation wherein different court rulings may create incompatible standards of conduct that the defendant would be bound to follow.