Advocating for justice and maximum compensation for South Carolina injury victims
Are you a victim of corporate negligence? You can fight back with class action litigation. Join forces with a group of individuals to hold powerful corporations accountable for their actions.
At Chappell, Chappell & Newman, we understand that it can be overwhelming to take on a large corporation or organization alone.
That’s where class action litigation comes in.
Whether you’re seeking justice against a corporation or need compensation for damages, our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help. We have successfully represented thousands of clients in complex litigation cases, and we can help you too.
The Class Action Practice at CCN Law
The class action practice at Chappell, Chappell and Newman is built on a foundation of diligent case preparation, vigorous legal advocacy and success.
Just some of the types of class action cases that our lawyers have a record of successfully resolving include (but are not limited to) litigation involving:
- Corporate fraud
- Dangerous medications
- Defective medical devices
- Defective vehicle equipment
- Faulty consumer products
- Fiduciary breaches and abuses
- Other personal injury claims
When you trust our attorneys to represent you in a class action claim, you can count on us to:
- Clearly explain your rights and what to expect from the class action process moving forward
- Craft you and all of the plaintiffs in your class the strongest possible case
- Effectively handle all of the details of the class action case, including managing all of the administrative work and bureaucracy necessary for the case to proceed
- Keep you updated about the progress of the class action case as it moves forward
- Bring your class action case to the best possible resolution.
What is a class action lawsuit?
Class action litigation, also known as a class action lawsuit or a class action suit, is a type of legal action in which a large group of individuals collectively bring a claim to court. These individuals, known as plaintiffs, have typically suffered similar harm or losses due to the actions or negligence of the same defendant, such as a company or organization.
The purpose of a class action is to combine numerous individual claims into a single lawsuit, which can be more efficient and cost-effective for the plaintiffs.
What elements are needed to file a class action lawsuit?
In a class action suit, a representative plaintiff, or a small group of representative plaintiffs, files the lawsuit on behalf of all the members of the class. This representative plaintiff must fairly and adequately protect the interests of the entire class.
The court must approve the class action by certifying the class, ensuring that it meets certain legal requirements.
These requirements typically include the following:
- Numerosity. The number of plaintiffs in the class must be large enough that individual lawsuits would be impractical.
- Commonality. There must be common questions of law or fact among the class members.
- Typicality. The representative plaintiff’s claims or defenses must be typical of the claims or defenses of the class.
- Adequate representation. The representative plaintiff must fairly and adequately protect the class members.
How do I qualify as a representative plaintiff in a class action lawsuit?
In legal terms, the representative plaintiff is the person who files a lawsuit on behalf of a class of individuals with similar injury claims.
To become a representative plaintiff in a class action lawsuit, you need to follow several steps:
- Identify the issue. First, recognize the issue that has caused harm or loss to you and a large group of individuals. The issue should stem from the actions or negligence of the same defendant, such as a company or organization.
- Consult an attorney. Find an attorney who has experience in class action lawsuits and discuss the situation with them. The attorney will help you determine if you have a valid legal claim and if a class action lawsuit is appropriate.
- Investigate. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence, identify potential class members, and establish the basis for the class action lawsuit.
- File a complaint. If the attorney determines that a class action is warranted, they will draft and file a complaint with the court. The complaint will outline the legal claims, describe the class, and identify the representative plaintiff(s).
- Motion for class certification. After filing the complaint, your attorney will file a motion to have the class certified by the court. The court will examine whether the proposed class meets the legal requirements for a class action, including numerosity, commonality, typicality and adequate representation.
Court approval. If the court certifies the class, you will officially become the representative plaintiff, acting on behalf of all class members. The court may require you to undertake certain responsibilities, such as attending hearings, providing testimony or participating in settlement negotiations.
Settlements in class action lawsuits
Class action lawsuits can go to trial, but it is relatively rare. The vast majority of class action cases are resolved through settlement negotiations before reaching the trial stage.
Why resolving cases before trial benefits both plaintiffs and defendants
There are several reasons why it’s often beneficial for both plaintiffs and defendants to settle a case before trial:
- Cost and time efficiency. Trials are often expensive and time-consuming for both the plaintiffs and the defendants. Settlements can save both parties significant time and resources.
- Risk management. Going to trial involves a level of uncertainty for both sides. The defendant faces the possibility of a large verdict against them, while the plaintiffs risk walking away with nothing if they lose. A settlement provides a more predictable outcome for both parties.
- Judicial encouragement. Courts often encourage parties to settle their disputes out of court to conserve judicial resources and prevent case backlogs.
- Confidentiality. Settlements can include confidentiality agreements, which protect sensitive information and shield the parties involved from adverse publicity. This can be particularly important for corporate defendants who wish to protect their reputations.
When a class action lawsuit does go to trial, the representative plaintiff(s) present their case to either a judge or a jury, depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the claims. The trial’s outcome can have a significant impact on the defendant, as a large verdict against them may lead to substantial financial losses or reputational damage.
However, it’s important to remember that going to trial is the exception rather than the rule for class action cases.
Reasons a class action lawsuit might be dismissed and what you can do about it
Class action lawsuits can also be dismissed for various reasons, just like any other lawsuit. Some of the reasons a class action may be dismissed include:
- Failure to certify the class. For a class action to proceed, the court must certify the class, which requires meeting specific legal criteria such as numerosity, commonality, typicality and adequate representation. If the court determines that these criteria are not met, the class action may be dismissed.
- Insufficient evidence or merit. If the court determines that the plaintiffs’ case lacks sufficient evidence to support their claims, or if the case lacks legal merit, the class action may be dismissed.
- Procedural issues. A class action lawsuit may be dismissed if the plaintiffs fail to follow proper legal procedures, such as not meeting filing deadlines, failing to serve the defendant correctly, or not adhering to court rules.
- Voluntary dismissal. The plaintiffs may voluntarily choose to dismiss the class action if they no longer wish to pursue the case, if they reach a settlement with the defendant, or if they decide to pursue individual claims instead.
- Summary judgment. If the defendant can successfully argue that there are no material facts in dispute and they are entitled to a judgment as a matter of law, the court may grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant, effectively dismissing the case.
“A class action is an important tool for consumers or investors. Often a group of people may be harmed in a very similar manner but the dollar value of each individual harm may be quickly eclipsed by the expenses demanded by heavy duty litigation. In this situation, the group of people may work together to litigate all of their claims at once under a class action. This pooling of damages permits case expenses to be spread evenly over each injured person so that an otherwise financially unfeasible case may be pursued.
Maintaining a class action, however, is not easy. Few attorneys have successfully pursued a class action to judgment and there are numerous legal snares that can doom an otherwise meritorious class action. ”
Graham Newman, an attorney with Chappell, Chappell and Newman, focuses his practice on non-traditional litigation in areas such as class actions and statutory claims.
Understanding the court approval process for class action lawsuit settlements
A judge must approve any proposed class action settlement to ensure that it is fair, reasonable and adequate for all class members. The court plays an important role in overseeing the settlement process in a class action lawsuit to protect the interests of the class members, who may not be directly involved in the settlement negotiations.
The process for court approval of a class action settlement generally involves the following steps:
- Preliminary approval. The parties involved in the lawsuit submit the proposed settlement agreement to the court. The judge reviews the terms of the settlement and, if they find it to be reasonable, grants preliminary approval.
- Notification of class members. After preliminary approval, class members must be notified of the proposed settlement. This notification typically includes information about the terms of the settlement, the rights of class members (including the right to object or opt out of the settlement), and instructions on how to submit a claim for a share of the settlement proceeds.
- Objections and opt-outs. Class members have the opportunity to object to the proposed settlement or opt out of the class. Objections may relate to the fairness or adequacy of the settlement, while opting out allows class members to pursue their claims individually outside of the class action.
- Fairness hearing. The court holds a fairness hearing, also known as a final approval hearing, to consider any objections raised by class members and to determine whether the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate.
- Final approval. If the judge determines that the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate, they will grant final approval, making the settlement legally binding on all class members who did not opt out. The settlement proceeds will then be distributed to the eligible class members according to the terms of the settlement agreement.
Don’t let corporate negligence go unpunished. Contact our attorneys.
Time is of the essence when it comes to class action lawsuits. If you’ve been a victim of corporate negligence, it’s important to act quickly and seek the compensation you deserve.
Our experienced injury attorneys at Chappell, Chappell & Newman can guide you through the complex process of class action litigation and help you get the results you need.
We are dedicated to fighting for your rights and ensuring that powerful corporations are held accountable for their actions.
Don’t wait—contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help.
You can fill out the contact form on our website or call us. Our attorneys are here to listen to your story and help you take the next steps toward justice.