The simplest thing to keep in mind is that a class action is a lawsuit filed by one or more people on behalf of not only those filing the suit, but on behalf of others as well.


The number of plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit can vary greatly. But in general, the courts will require that the class be certified, which means that all the people included in the class must be deemed to be “similarly situated." For example, recent lawsuits filed as class actions have included those on behalf of people who have suffered financial harm because of the practices of certain banks and insurance companies.


There are many requirements of time and many legal definitions involved in class actions, and the process can be complex. However, as in many things, here there is strength in numbers.


One person’s financial injury may be small, but when multiplied by a number of other individuals who have suffered similar injury, the amount of injury overall can be substantial. So, filing a class action lawsuit can strengthen the claim itself. It’s also true that the class action option can be a powerful method when a person or small group of people could not otherwise afford to carry the often substantial costs of a lawsuit alone.


A class action lawsuit, when successful, can be a way of recovering losses from businesses that have caused damage across a spectrum of the population. Whether the damages were caused in error, or by deliberate acts, when a suit comes to successful conclusion in favor of the plaintiffs, it often means that some or all of plaintiffs' damages will be offset.


Successful class action also often results in reasonable legal fees to be paid to the winning attorneys, and such fees usually require court approval. At Michael P. Malakoff, PC, any fees to our clients are on a contingent basis, which means that we collect nothing unless there is a judgment in our favor, and then only as the case itself is settled financially. There is never any out-of-pocket cost to any of our clients.