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Class Action Lawsuit Attorney in Alabama
How Do Class Action Lawsuits Work?
When a large group of people has suffered a similar harm and therefore have a similar legal claim for damages, this sets the stage for a class action lawsuit. In such cases, it is impractical for each of the affected persons to file a separate, individual, personal injury lawsuit.
Class action lawsuits can be tried in either state or federal laws. The Class Action Fairness Act for 2005 set out guidelines used to determine cases that fall under federal jurisdiction.
Although individual states have their own rules on the class action procedures to be followed by plaintiffs, defendants, judges and attorneys, they are generally similar to the guidelines set out under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Steps Taken In A Class Action Lawsuit
Once a lawsuit is filed by a lead plaintiff(s), one or more of the plaintiffs in the case, it follows a meticulous process as detailed below.
Certifying the Lawsuit
During the filing of the lawsuit, the lead plaintiff asks the court to certify the case as a class action. During this step, the judge is required to certify the plaintiffs as a class, failure to which the case is dismissed.
For the plaintiffs to be certified as a class, the judge must be satisfied that they have a similar complaint against a common defendant, whose defense to all the complaints is also similar.
Furthermore, the judge will be required to define the characteristics of the certified class of plaintiffs. It is worth mentioning that judges are also free to divide the class into sub-classes.
Notifying Potential Plaintiffs
Once the scope of potential plaintiffs is defined, the judge will then order that they are notified. The notification may be conducted through the mail, TV and newspaper advertisements where necessary.
It is assumed that anyone who falls within the defined scope of potential plaintiffs is part of the class action and will be legally bound by the final outcome, unless of course they willingly opt out of the process by notifying the court within the prescribed period of time. Plaintiffs who would like to file their own separate personal injury lawsuits should opt out of these proceedings at this point. If this is your situation you should contact our office at Steven R Morris Attorney at Law – Alabama personal injury law firm.
Appointment of a Suitable Attorney
Class action lawsuits can be quite complicated in nature. This combined with the fact that wealthy defendants are bound to get the best defense lawyers to represent them, make the appointment of the right plaintiff attorney essential. Although the attorney who filed the case in the first place usually continues with the case, it is up to the judge to ensure that the attorney representing the plaintiffs has adequate experience when it comes to class action cases.
Distribution of The Awarded Damages
If any damages are awarded or agreed upon as a settlement, the presiding judge together with the attorney representing the plaintiffs sit down and come up with a plan on how they are to be distributed. The judge also has a say in the amount to be paid to the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, as well as how they are to be paid.
Whether your goal is to join in class action lawsuit or go it alone and hire an attorney to fight by yourself, contact us today for a Free Consultation to get all the details so you can make an informed decision.
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