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Class Action lawsuits are a form of multi-party litigation allowed in virtually every state. A class action is a procedural device that allows multiple claims for known and unknown claimants to be litigated efficiently and resolved with finality. Typically, a class action is a lawsuit where a large number of people who have suffered similar injuries join together to sue another entity, usually a large corporation. These cases may range from defective drugs and other products to an environmental disaster. Class actions are complicated cases that have unique set of legal procedures that differ greatly from individual cases.
For instance, Herman Gerel, LLP has filed class action lawsuits in both our World War II Slave Labor and Propulsid litigations. Moreover, since procedural devices like class actions and individual lawsuits are not mutually exclusive, we sometimes pursue our clients' claims with multiple procedural devices. For example, in the WWII Slave Labor case we filed individual lawsuits on behalf of our clients, but we also filed one class action lawsuit in which the class members included our clients.
A class action also makes sense when each victim's claim is too small to justify an individual lawsuit. Electric utility customers, for example, overcharged a few pennies each month may individually be due only $15 in damages. But when those claims are added together, the amount can be staggering. And it's unfair to allow a corporate wrongdoer to get away with a wrong simply because it has harmed a million people, each for a small amount of money.
So a class action suit allows a class representative to aggregate all those claims and ask for the cumulative amount of money in damages, which will be shared by all class members.
Multi district litigation (MDL) is a separate federal legal procedure designed to streamline the litigation process in cases that involve common questions of fact and may involve thousands of plaintiffs in a number of different states. Individual cases in an MDL are sent from one federal court to another federal court for all pretrial proceedings and discovery.
Learn about your legal rights from an experienced class action attorney by calling 404-880-9500 or by filling out our free, no obligation case review form.