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A class action lawsuit is a type of civil lawsuit that is filed on behalf of a group of business entities or individuals who’ve suffered common injuries due to the defendants’ conduct. When a class action lawsuit is filed, at least one entity or individual acts as a representative of the entire group. In this article, we examine the stages of a class action lawsuit. 

File Complaint

A class action lawsuit typically starts with the filing of a complaint that names at least one class representative. The named representative files the lawsuit on behalf of the proposed class. The defendant in the case then has the opportunity to respond to the lawsuit. 

Obtain Class Certification

After the complaint is filed, the class representative files a motion requesting the court to certify the proposed class. To obtain approval, the class representative must do the following:

  • Demonstrate that there is a legitimate legal claim against the defendant
  • Designate a lead plaintiff
  • Demonstrate that there are enough similarly injured parties in the class to justify the class action lawsuit
  • Provide legal notice to members of the class
  • Allow members of the class the option to opt in or opt out

Proceed with the Case or Negotiate a Settlement 

After the class obtains certification, and the notice period is complete, the lead plaintiff in the case proceeds with the case against the defendant. The case then proceeds to a decision by a jury or judge unless the parties agree to a settlement. Following a verdict or settlement, all members of the class are notified. If the parties reach a settlement, then class members are typically notified that they have the option to opt out of the settlement if desired. After the opt-out period has passed and the settlement funds have been paid, the lead plaintiff and his or her attorney arrange to distribute the proceeds to all eligible victims.

Distribute the Damages

The damages in a class-action settlement are typically divided among several parties. The law firm representing the plaintiff usually obtains a percentage of the proceeds first. The next payment goes to the lead plaintiff, who typically gets a larger share than the other members of the class due to the extra work and time required. Finally, the remaining members of the class receive their payments. 

Hire a South Florida Consumer Class Action Lawyer 

If you are a victim of deceptive or unfair business practices, experienced class action attorney Seth Lehrman is here to assist you. When you come to us for help, Mr. Lehrman will take the steps necessary to resolve your situation. Our distinguished law firm is experienced in handling cases that cover a wide range of illegal business practices, including unfair debt collection practices, consumer overcharges, TCPA cases, mortgage fraud, and more. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.