Class Action Litigation

Class Action Litigation

Columbus Class Action Lawsuit Attorneys

Settlements and jury awards in class action lawsuits sometimes make headlines. Three of the most-recent, high-profile outcomes from class action litigation are the payments that carmaker GM has agreed to make to the families of people who died in vehicles with faulty ignition switches, the initial total of $765 million the NFL earmarked to compensate former players who suffered traumatic brain injuries, and the finding that the NCAA, its member institutions, corporate partners, and sponsors had illegally used athletes names and images without paying royalties or fees.

Most class actions are less noteworthy for the general public. The plaintiffs, however, have much to gain from holding defendants liable for harming them. Hardships imposed by unfair employment practices, multiple injuries and deaths from airplane or train wrecks, and financial fraud can all be corrected and compensated through class action suits.

As summarized below, we only focus on a few types of class actions at Leist Warner. When we do get involved in a case, however, our attorneys represent each party as if he or she were one of our individual clients.


How Do People Qualify as Plaintiffs in Class Action Lawsuits?

The principal qualification for getting included as a member of a group who deserves compensation and damages from a defendant is showing evidence that you suffered an injury or loss because the defendant acted negligently, recklessly, fraudulently, or in bad faith. The harm must be similar to that suffered by other members of the class, but it does not need to be identical in kind or degree. For instance, in the GM class action settlement mentioned above, people injured in crashes that involved ignition switch failures can receive payments, but the amounts will be smaller than those made to families who lost loved ones.

Class actions usually develop gradually as lawyers representing individual plaintiffs notice similarities in the separate cases and decide to combine their lawsuits. In some circumstances, a typical class action model is used to address the similar claims of a group of individuals in a single court by proving the case of a representative plaintiff. In other cases, a traditional class action may not be appropriate, but a similar mass tort type action may be used. For example, where personal injuries and economic harm are present, such as an airplane crash, the mass tort approach may be used to efficiently litigate the individualized personal injury issues and the common issues of causation. Where multiple class actions or mass tort actions concerning the same allegedly illegal act have been filed in multiple districts, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) may determine that it is appropriate to combine the class actions or mass tort actions from different districts into one multidistrict litigation (MDL) case where a single district court will oversee all of the pretrial activities for all of the cases. However the class action or mass tort litigation comes together, potential participants who may have suffered harm due to the actions of the defendant are typically given notice of the litigation and can usually opt into or opt out of the case. Situations in which plaintiffs typically constitute a class for the purposes of litigation include employment actions in which every worker experienced the same harmful treatment, false advertising cases that involve written false advertisements, and other cases in which a company engaged in behavior that led to all of its customers losing money.

Regardless of who requests certification of a class action, a judge must rule on whether plaintiffs can be considered similarly situated before the case is certified as a class action. The court must consider whether proof of the representative plaintiff’s claims will effectively prove the claims of the other members of the putative class.


What Types of Class Actions Does Leist Warner Handle?

We can help groups of Ohioans who have lost money or property due to unfair, fraudulent, or negligent business practices. Specifically, class action lawyers with Leist Warner have experience representing plaintiffs in these types of cases:

  • False Advertising—Companies and salespeople cannot misrepresent the price, value, effects, quality, or availability of the products they sell. Contact a false advertising lawyer at the Leist Warner Columbus office if you purchase a product that is not as it was represented to be or did not function as represented.
  • Fraud—An experienced consumer fraud attorney at the Leist Warner Columbus, Ohio, office can help if you have lost money, time, or property as a result of an intentional misrepresentation by individuals, stores, banks, contractors, repairmen, or organizations.
  • Improper Sales Practices—Some sales of products can be improper because of the circumstances or manner in which the products were sold. For example, the sale of a new life insurance policy to someone who already has an existing life insurance policy using funds from the existing policy, simply to generate new commissions for the life insurance agent can be improper. Another common example is the sale of an annuity to an elderly person who is unlikely to live long enough to benefit from the annuity can be improper.
  • Improper Debt Collection Practices—Debt collection agencies can violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other laws by using overly aggressive tactics or false statements when attempting to collect a debt. If you believe you have been the victim of improper debt collection practices, contact an attorney at the Columbus, Ohio office of Leist Warner to determine what rights you have to bring a halt to such practices and potentially receive compensation..
  • Consumer Protection Act Violations—A number of federal laws and related Ohio state statutes spell out the rights of customers to hold businesses, banks, lenders, appraisers, insurers, and stores accountable for being dishonest and unethical.


What Can Class Action Plaintiffs Expect?

Class actions, mass torts and multidistrict litigation cases are usually heard in federal courts even when all the members of a class of plaintiffs live in the same state. Before starting or joining a class action lawsuit make sure that the law firm representing you has experience navigating the federal system, knows class action law and has your best interests in mind. Attorneys at Leist Warner have been counsel in multi-state class actions, mass torts and MDL cases where millions of dollars were recovered for class members. Leist Warner attorneys were among the attorneys who argued on behalf of Ohioans for the Toyota sudden acceleration cases to be heard in Ohio. Leist Warner attorneys have also been part of the leadership counsel in multidistrict litigation that concerned the claims of millions of class members from every state in the United States. Our attorneys know the benefits and disadvantages of class action litigation and will clearly and honestly explain both to you so that you can make a knowledgeable decision whether to pursue your claims individually or as a class.


Ask Us Your Questions About Class Action Cases

The Columbus, Ohio class action lawyers with Leist Warner offer no-cost consultations. We can help you understand a notification of your eligibility to participate in a mass tort or multidistrict litigation, as well as help you decide whether you should serve as a leader in organizing a class action. You can reach us by calling (614) 222-1000 or filling out this web form.

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