What it takes to defend against a class-action lawsuit

by | Jun 14, 2021 | Business Litigation |

It’s an unfortunate truth of the business world that no company is immune from the possibility of having to defend against a class-action lawsuit. Whether your company manufactures consumable products or provides a service, there’s always the possibility that enough plaintiffs will band together to form a class and bring a suit against you, which can be devastating to have to confront. Luckily, there are ways of defeating the formation of these classes so that you can deal with each plaintiff’s claim individually.

The requirements for bringing a class-action suit

In order for a group of plaintiffs to pool their suits against you into one class-action suit, they have to demonstrate to the court that they meet certain requirements. Essentially, the plaintiffs’ claims – and the relief sought – must be so similar that it makes sense for the court to allow them to combine their claims.

To qualify for classification – which is the court’s recognition of the validity of the class, and their right to sue together – the plaintiffs will have to show that there is an injury common to the whole class, and that a court’s final outcome would satisfy the claim of every member of the class.

Defeat the suit before it begins

This classification requirement gives you a chance to prevent the class-action suit from happening in the first place. Your attorney’s strategy will likely be to counter the attempted classification by showing the court why the plaintiffs don’t qualify as a class.

Your attorney can accomplish this by demonstrating that the plaintiffs don’t have similar-enough injuries or claims. It can also be done by showing that one judgment wouldn´t be a just outcome for redressing all the various claims of the class members, and that justice demands that each of them bring their own individual suit.

If you can defeat classification, then each class member will have to bring their own suits against you. Many of them won´t be able or willing to do so due to the costs of litigation or their likely recovery being too low, meaning that you´ll end up with far fewer claims to deal with than if they were to successfully qualify to bring a class-action against you.

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