WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE THE LEAD PLAINTIFF IN A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT?
Lead Plaintiffs Attorney
Duties of a Class Representative
1. A class representative represents the interests of all members of the class in litigation to recover money damages or restitution, or to obtain injunctive relief for the class.
2. A class usually consists of all persons that are similarly situated with respect to a common course of conduct or practice by the defendants — in other words, all those persons affected by the behavior of the defendants that is challenged in the lawsuit.
3. A class representative has claims that are typical of those of the class and thus involve common issues of law or fact. For example, in a wage and hour case, a class representative has claims that are typical because he or she and other persons employed by the employer are in similar jobs and entitled to overtime wages and meal and rest period breaks, but did not receive them.
4. A class representative is termed a “fiduciary litigant.” This means that you must consider the interests of the class as if they were your own interests.
5. A class representative must actively participate in the lawsuit as necessary by, among other things, cooperating with attorneys, answering questions and providing documents to the defendants, and by giving depositions and trial testimony, if requested. Thus, a class representative and other possible class representatives may be required to work with the attorneys in responding to written discovery, producing documents, or appearing at deposition and/or at trial.
6. A class representative must recognize and accept that any resolution of the lawsuit, by dismissal or settlement, is subject to court approval, and must be designed in the best interest of the class as a whole.
7. A class representative is not required to be particularly knowledgeable about the subject of the lawsuit. However, a class representative should follow the progress of the lawsuit and provide all relevant facts to the attorneys for the class.
8. A class representative volunteers to represent many other people with similar claims and injuries because of the importance of the case and the necessity that all class members benefit from the lawsuit equally; the savings of time, money, and effort should benefit all parties and the court. Class actions are an important tool to assure compliance with the law.