Class action lawsuits are legally defined as “a lawsuit that allows a large number of people with a common interest in a matter to sue or be sued as a group.” Basically, when a group of people have suffered the same or similar injuries from the same product, one big lawsuit can be filed against its manufacturer. Class action lawsuits involve complex litigation because they address a large number of complaints at once against a usually well-protected business.
Private causes of action
Ohio class action lawsuits are provisioned under Ohio Revised Codes as “private causes of action” at §1345.09 and applied under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
There are three types of class actions available under Rule 23:
Where separate actions would be adversely impact individual class members, and would “substantially impair or impeded their ability to protect their interests.”
Where the defendant must be compelled to act on grounds respective to the “class as a whole.”
Where the court must determine questions or facts mutual to the class individuals.
Most consumer class actions join multiple smaller claims from a large class of people. While it may be cost-prohibitive to litigate each small claim individually, there is indeed strength in numbers. The smaller common complaints collectively add up, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome for each smaller claim. This is especially true when the defendant is a large corporation with endless resources.
Class members taking action
Our Cleveland personal injury attorneys protect the rights of class members in legal actions, successfully litigating claims lateral to these examples:
- Consumer protection laws violations – Customers of banks affiliated with PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. prevailed in a lawsuit for excessive overdraft fees charged for minimal purchases.
- Disasters – Policy holders with Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp, prevailed in a lawsuit against the insurer for slow handling of claims in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
- Mass accidents – Fishermen and other harmed parties prevailed in a class action lawsuit against British Petroleum for an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that damaged their livelihood.
- Product defects – Patients prevailed in a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline after the pharmaceutical drug manufacturer made false claims about the diabetes drug Avandia.