What You Didn’t Know About NJ Class Action Lawsuits

5 Things You Didn’t Know About NJ Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits bring together, in one suit, large groups of plaintiffs with similar claims against a person or entity. They are fairly common and can relate to commercial, personal injury or even employment law matters. Often, however, class action lawsuits relate to consumer fraud. This is where people were deceived into purchasing a product that does not physically or functionally meet its packaging claims.   

If you were the victim of a fraudulent advertising, unfair business practices or unlawful employment practices, you may be eligible for compensation under state and federal class action law. Consult a New Jersey class action lawsuit attorney to know how to proceed with your case.

How Do You Start a Class Action Lawsuit?

Class actions are usually commenced by a class representative or lead plaintiff. This person will file a complaint in court demonstrating that harm was done to him and many others, occasioning injury. Any person who was injured can file the class action complaint in court and furnish a copy to the defendant.

The court must certify the complaint as a class action suit before it can proceed as such. Once certified, the class representative can proceed to give notice to all affected members of the class of its certification and oncoming litigation. If not certified, the suit will continue as an individual claim.

How Does the Court Decide to Certify a Suit as a Class Action?

In certifying a suit as a class action, the court considers whether the suit has fulfilled the four requirements of a class action suit:

  • Numerosity – are there numerous people involved in the claim? Are they so many it would be impractical to have each proceed individually or to enjoin them all in a traditional lawsuit?
  • Commonality – is there a common issue of law that all class members are facing? Have all class members suffered a similar wrongdoing or flaw?
  • Typicality – are the claims of the class representatives similar to those of the class members such that similar arguments would be raised for them?
  • Adequacy – Will the class representatives provide fair and adequate representation of the class members?

What Happens after Certification as a Class Action?

After a suit has been certified as a class action and all class members have been notified, it moves to litigation. The class representative will proceed to represent the class members throughout the litigation process. The class representative will also notify the class members of the case proceedings. Once the matter is settled, the class members will all receive a portion of the damages awarded. The class representative will receive an incentive award for his active role throughout the suit.

Can Members Opt out of the Class Action?

Class action members who have received notice of the certification of a suit can either elect to be part of the class action or opt out of the suit altogether and pursue an individual claim. However, there are legal consequences for this and it would be best to consult a lawyer before opting out.

What Are the Benefits of a Class Action Suit?

A class action suit can be very advantageous to the class members:

  • It allows them to pursue justice against a defendant together where individual proceedings would be too strenuous to pursue independently
  • It brings down the cost of litigation because all claims are pursued as one
  • It allows class members to receive adequate compensation for their injuries
  • It makes defendants accountable for all their wrongs
  • With federal class action suits, class members can pursue justice against a defendant regardless of their jurisdiction.

If you were a victim of deceitful advertising or unfair trade practices, contact the New Jersey class action lawyers at Nagel Rice, LLP today to find out your legal options regarding a class action suit.