Legal Blog

What is Required to File a Class Action Suit?

We have all seen the commercials…

A lawyer comes on your screen and begins explaining how you might have a claim for damages against a certain company. He asks if you’ve ever used such and such product and suffered an injury. He then proceeds to ask you to contact him if you have so that he can determine if you have a claim. Or maybe you have heard on the news about the recent class action suit against Starkist Tuna who was accused of under filling its tuna cans.[1]

The case in the commercial or the Tuna case may or may not have applied to you but it got you thinking. You are thinking about the injury you suffered as a result of another drug, treatment, or even a product you’ve used. Or maybe you are certain that the phone company has been overcharging you and your neighbors. However, you haven’t suffered a large enough loss in either case that would justify contacting an attorney…or so you thought. But now, you are thinking that if you find enough people that have suffered a similar injury, then together you could file a class action lawsuit against the company and make them pay for their wrongs.

So, how do I know if I actually have a class action suit?

Class action suits are effective tools to hold large companies accountable for their wrongs to the public i.e. Starkist’s alleged under filling of their tuna cans.

In order to file a class action suit in Florida, the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure mandate that certain requirements are met. The party moving to certify a class action must first demonstrate the following four prerequisites:

  1. The members of the class are so numerous that separate joinder of each member is impracticable
  2. The claim or defense of the representative party raises questions of law or fact common to the questions of law or fact raised by the claim or defense of each member of the class
  3. The claim or defense of the representative party is typical of the claim or defense of each member of the class, AND
  4. The representative party can fairly and adequately protect and represent the interests of each member of the class.[2]

Once these prerequisites are met then the party must satisfy ONE of the following:

  1. the prosecution of separate claims or defenses by or against individual members of the class would create a risk of either:
    1. inconsistent or varying adjudications concerning individual members of the class which would establish incompatible standards of conduct for the party opposing the class; or
    2. adjudications concerning individual members of the class which would, as a practical matter, be dispositive of the interests of other members of the class who are not parties to the adjudications, or substantially impair or impede the ability of other members of the class who are not parties to the adjudications to protect their interests; or
  2. the party opposing the class has acted or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to all the members of the class, thereby making final injunctive relief or declaratory relief concerning the class as a whole appropriate; or
  3. the claim or defense is not maintainable under either subdivision (b)(1) or (b)(2), but the questions of law or fact common to the claim or defense of the representative party and the claim or defense of each member of the class predominate over any question of law or fact affecting only individual members of the class, and class representation is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.[3]

What should I do next?

If you or someone you know believes they might have a class action suit against a company in Florida, your first step is to reach out to a qualified attorney. An attorney can then do the investigative legwork to see if you in fact have a class action lawsuit.

If you believe you may have a class action claim against a company in Florida contact the Boatman Law Firm today for a consultation. 239-330-1494.

THIS BLOG IS INTENDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. THE READER SHOULD CONSULT WITH KNOWLEDGEABLE LEGAL COUNSEL TO DETERMINE HOW APPLICABLE LAWS APPLY TO SPECIFIC FACTS AND SITUATIONS. BLOG POSTS ARE BASED ON THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION AT THE TIME THEY ARE WRITTEN. SINCE IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE LAWS OR OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES MAY HAVE CHANGED SINCE PUBLICATION, PLEASE CALL US TO DISCUSS ANY ACTION YOU MAY BE CONSIDERING AS A RESULT OF READING THIS BLOG.

 

[1] http://www.wral.com/-50-in-free-starkist-tuna-or-25-check-from-class-action-lawsuit/14880640/

[2] Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.220(a)

[3] Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.220(b)

Blog