Class Actions

Class actions lawsuits are an invaluable procedure to the legal community. Essentially, a class action allows numerous people with common complaints that will be defended similarly to file one lawsuit together, rather than forcing each individual to seek their own attorney and file suit individually. By using this process, advantages are realized by all parties involved- plaintiffs, defendants, and the court system.

A class action follows the same path as any other lawsuit, the main difference being the additional step of certifying the class. The court will determine if there are enough members in a group to warrant using this procedural method rather than joinder, examine the issues to determine if they are similar enough to be fairly tried together, determine if the exact claim of the party representing the class is representative of the claims of other members of the party, and if the representative parties can adequately and fairly represent the members of the class. While there are many advantages to using class action lawsuits, the Court still has a duty to carefully examine the situation to make sure a class action lawsuit is warranted. The court system cannot sacrifice the proper application of justice for the advantages found below. This means the court must examine each case to ensure fairness is given to all parties. This may be through ensuring all members of the class have their interest represented adequately or making sure the issues involved are not so different as to unfairly tax the defendant.

Class action lawsuits allow for a more efficient use of resources, especially when it comes to time. If a class action goes to trial, it may be allotted more time than if each suit was tried individually. Yet, if the total time it takes to try the class action is compared with the total time spent trying the individual suits, typically there is time saved for all parties. Additionally, there are many times when the cost of a lawsuit outweighs the benefit received, even if the suit is successfully prosecuted. For example, Thornhill Law Firm is currently working on a class action regarding credit scoring used in determining insurance eligibility and rates, which is forbidden by law. The credit scoring bureaus were working with the insurance industry to effectively use demographic data to discriminate against individuals seeking insurance policies to cover their homes and automobiles, which is specifically prohibited by federal and state law. An individual may have had a more difficult time procuring insurance, or paid a slightly higher premium, but economically it might not be possible for the individual to sue to recover the $200 per premium in excess they were paying, even though they have a valid claim. However, this happened to enough people that a class action was possible, so the group was able to share the costs of the lawsuit alleging discrimination through use of credit scoring to determine insurance eligibility and premiums.

Class actions also allow for resources to be used more effectively. First, they reduce the cost of litigation. When suits are essentially the same, it does not make sense to more than one attorney researching the same issues and filing the same pleadings. Also, everyone who has ever come into contact with the judicial system realizes it is a slow process. The United States Court system is highly burdened with a large number of cases, which results in cases taking longer times to wind their way through the system. By consolidating similar actions, the courts are able to use their resources more effectively, which allows one class action to take care of complaints by a large number of people, therefore reducing the court’s workload.

There has been a move by various industries, such as cell phone providers and computer manufacturers, to ban the use of class actions when handling a complaint. This is typically done by requiring any complaint to be handled through arbitration or preemption, rather than the court system. While at face value this may seem to be as fair, as the complaint is heard and solved, it may not be in a person’s best interest. There has been a movement in the legal community to defeat this tactic, as it is both unconscionable and seems to violate public policy intent on protecting the consumer.

Thornhill Law Firm is dedicated to providing the best legal service possible while seeking justice. To learn more about representation by Thornhill Law Firm in Class Action Lawsuits please go to or call us, toll-free, at 1-800-989-2707.