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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have a class action?

If you are a consumer or business that has lost money or property due to an unlawful or unfair business practice that may have affected a substantial number of others, you may have a case that can be brought as a class action.

Determining whether or not an individual case is viable and worthwhile pursuing as a class action requires careful balancing of a number of legal and practical considerations. In addition to the applicable substantive law, common legal questions include:

  • Is there a contract with the defendant that contains a mandatory arbitration provision? Are there any defenses to its enforcement?
  • Is the claim preempted by federal law?
  • Is there a basis for federal jurisdiction?
  • Will variations in state law prevent certification of a national class?
  • Are there any "standing" issues with the proposed class representative?

In addition to legal hurdles, practical and strategic considerations include:

  • Whether the allegations are "new," or part of existing litigation, such as a federal multidistrict litigation proceeding against the same or a similar defendant.
  • Whether the recoverable damages justify the likely costs and duration of litigation.
  • Whether the case should be filed in state or federal court, and selecting the most advantageous forum.
  • How the case can be structured to maximize class membership.
  • The likelihood of settlement or trial.

If you think you may have the basis for a class action, contact Himmelstein Law Network for an evaluation.

What's in it for me?

A named plaintiff in a class action lawsuit is referred to as a "class representative." While a class may have thousands or even millions of members, only a few individuals serve as the class representatives.

Class representatives may receive an "incentive award" for their service to the class. These awards are always at the discretion of the presiding judge. While they can range as high as $25,000 (see Order re: Plaintiffs' Motion for Incentive Awards), they more typically range from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the level of involvement in the case.

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