Wayne County Class Action and Commercial Litigation Attorneys
Class action lawsuits are a critical part of the American justice system. They allow groups of plaintiffs to join together to hold a business or organization accountable for its wrongful conduct, even when doing so may not make practical sense for each individual.
What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?
In a typical lawsuit, a plaintiff brings a case against one or more defendants based on a wrong the defendant committed. Usually, these cases involve negligent acts that profoundly and directly impacted the plaintiff’s life. However, sometimes a corporation’s negligent or intentional actions affect many people. A class action lawsuit allows a group of plaintiffs to band together to bring a case against a single defendant.
For example: A telecommunications company’s negligent billing practices resulted in each customer being charged an additional $1.50 per billing cycle for the past few years. Individually, each user suffers less than $20 per year in damages—frustrating but certainly not worth retaining a lawyer and filing a lawsuit. In a class action case, however, one or several named plaintiffs can sue on behalf of many other people affected similarly by a company’s negligence or bad acts. These lawsuits can recover millions of dollars to redistribute to the individuals who suffered the harm and punitive damages to discourage future wrongdoing by the company.
Class action lawsuits are highly complex, in part because of the high stakes involved. They can take years to work their way through the justice system and require an unrivaled level of knowledge and skill to pursue successfully. At Sommers Schwartz, our experienced team of class action attorneys works tirelessly to help our clients recover the compensation they deserve.
Class action lawsuits empower otherwise impractical suits
While every case is important to the aggrieved party, some cases may not justify the time and expense of litigation, given the potential recovery. For example, if an employer’s policy fails to compensate employees fairly for their overtime pay, each worker may only suffer a few thousand dollars in damages. This may discourage them from taking the time, expense, and potential risk of retaliation to pursue a wage and hour claim because even if they succeed, they only stand to recover a small amount. By banding together in a class action suit, workers can hold employers accountable in situations that would not otherwise warrant filing a case.
Class action lawsuits can be faster than pursuing an individual case
While class action lawsuits often take years to resolve, they can actually be faster than pursuing an individual case. When several plaintiffs each bring a case individually against a defendant alleging similar legal issues, a court may wait to see how other courts confronted with the same issue handle the matter. This can turn into a waiting game that may drag on indefinitely as courts wait for other cases to resolve. Filing a Wayne County class action lawsuit demands that a court resolve the issues when presented rather than waiting for precedent.
Class action lawsuits ensure similarly situated plaintiffs are treated equally
One concern that arises when similarly situated plaintiffs file individual lawsuits against a defendant is that there may be disparate results. Different judges may interpret and apply the law slightly differently, and juries may reach different conclusions based on their resolution of factual disputes. A class action lawsuit ensures that all members of the class recover equitable damages for their losses.
Class action lawsuits may encourage settlement
Class action lawsuits, by their nature, involve multiple plaintiffs. In this way, class action lawsuits present high stakes for defendants. They are also costly to defend. This can encourage a defendant to consider settling a case they might not consider settling on a smaller scale.
Types of Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits are appropriate in many situations where a defendant’s actions had a similar impact on a group of people. Sommers Schwartz has handled Wayne County class action cases based in many areas of law.
Product Liability Cases
When consumers purchase a product, they assume the product is safe for its intended uses. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Manufacturers routinely release dangerous and defective products into the stream of commerce. Under the law, manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are free of manufacturing and design defects. They also must warn consumers about a product’s inherent dangers. Product liability class action cases in Wayne County frequently involve motor vehicles, medical devices, pharmaceutical drugs, power equipment, and products marketed for babies and young children.
Commercial Transaction Claims
Companies that engage in misleading marketing practices and deceptive sales practices violate federal laws. Often, however, the harm suffered by an individual victim would not justify the time and expense of a traditional lawsuit. Class action claims provide plaintiffs with a practical way to sue a defendant engaging in illegal and unethical behavior, recover fair compensation, and protect future consumers from harm.
Employment Disputes and Wage and Hour Claims
Wayne County workers have rights under state and federal law. These protections include the right to a safe workplace and to be fairly compensated for the work they perform. Some employers make innocent mistakes that take a major toll on many workers. Others intentionally try to get away with discrimination, withholding compensation, wage theft, and other illegal behavior. Regardless of the motive behind the wrongdoing, an employment class action lawsuit allows similarly situated workers to group together and hold an employer accountable.
Shareholder and Securities Claims
Publicly traded and privately held corporations have certain responsibilities to their shareholders. While determining the extent of these duties is a complex undertaking, one fundamental component is not providing false or misleading information to shareholders or prospective shareholders. Another is to treat all shareholders fairly. Shareholder and derivative lawsuits against a corporation can be complex; they require seasoned attorneys who are knowledgeable about this specific area of law.
When Is a Wayne County Class Action Lawsuit Appropriate?
Unlike other types of Wayne County lawsuits, a plaintiff cannot initiate a class action suit simply by filing one. Before a case may proceed as a class action, the court must first verify the class. In determining whether a class action lawsuit would be appropriate to settle a plaintiff’s claims, the court will consider these factors:
- Can the court adequately define the class of possible plaintiffs?
- Can the class of potential plaintiffs be easily identified?
- Is class action litigation justified considering the number of potential plaintiffs?
- Do the individual class members’ claims all present similar legal and factual issues?
- Are the claims and defenses that are likely to come up similar?
- Will class certification provide an adequate remedy for all class members?
The class action lawyers at Sommers Schwartz have successfully worked through the class certification process countless times in Wayne County. We understand the complex procedural hurdles that plaintiffs must overcome to pursue justice for their claims.
Sommers Schwartz Has a Proven Track Record of Success in Class Action Lawsuits
While every case is different, here are a few representative examples of the cases we have handled:
- $12 million settlement in a commercial litigation class action: Two Sommers Schwartz attorneys secured the largest settlement of its kind in a recent class action against a manufacturer that misrepresented the amount of protein contained in a protein supplement.
- $89 million settlement in a pharmaceutical class action: A Sommers Schwartz attorney was among the plaintiffs’ lawyers for three parties who alleged a pattern of overcharging for the pharmaceutical drugs Bextra and Celexa.
- $46 million settlement in a pyramid scheme lawsuit: Two Sommers Schwartz attorneys were co-class counsel in a RICO class-action lawsuit alleging the plaintiffs were defrauded in an illegal pyramid scheme.
- $11.3 million settlement in an employment wage and hour lawsuit: A Sommers Schwartz attorney represented exotic dancers who were intentionally misclassified as independent contractors, not paid a minimum wage, and required to pay “rent” to the clubs where they worked.
- $7 million in class action lawsuit involving spam fax advertising: A Sommers Schwartz attorney was among plaintiffs’ counsel in a case involving a restaurant that sent out an unauthorized fax advertisement nearly 14,000 times to approximately 7,700 numbers.
Consult With a Wayne County Class Action Lawyer for Help With Your Claim
While class action lawsuits are incredibly complex, the attorneys at Sommers Schwartz have decades of hands-on experience. Our team will help you understand your rights and pursue them effectively. If you believe you may have a class action lawsuit or have recently heard of an ongoing class-action claim that may apply to you, reach out to our dedicated Wayne County class action lawyers. At Sommers Schwartz, we aggressively represent clients across Michigan and throughout the United States in all types of class action claims.
The attorneys at Sommers Schwartz have extensive experience litigating class action cases against some of the country’s largest and most powerful businesses. We handle employment claims, consumer protection claims, defective product claims, securities claims, and more. Our team of dedicated litigators has devoted their careers to enforcing our clients’ rights. We have the necessary experience, drive, and dedication to succeed on your behalf.