Do-You-Qualify-For-A-Class-Action-Lawsuit.jpg (2149×1159)You have been injured by a product and you want the company to make amends. If you are one of many people who were injured, you might be better off joining a class action against the company, but that raises some questions. Do you qualify for one? And would it be a better choice than going alone? Here are a few considerations you will want to consider.

How Does A Class Action Even Begin?

Let’s start with what a class action is according to Cornell Law School: it’s a civil suit that one person or a small group of people bring against an entity while representing a group of people too large to effectively sue anyone. They are common in securities cases, where many people are defrauded, employment cases, where all the employees were treated the same way, and other similar situations.

The first step is for a small number of the people to bring suit against the defendants. This original group is called the lead plaintiffs. These folks than ask for the case to be certified as a class action, either federally or in the state where the injury took place. The judge can certify it if the case has the following points:

  1. There’s a legal case to be made.
  2. A great many people have been harmed in a similar way.
  3. The Lead Plaintiff has been injured in the same way as everyone else in the group and is willing/able to represent the others’ interests fairly. They should have a reasonable plan for representing everyone.

The big stumbling block to certification is normally point 2- often, individuals will all be hurt by the same thing, but their injuries will be unique. For instance, if you can prove that a product twisted hundred’s of people’s fingers the same way that it twisted yours and you have a good way of representing all those people, you have a good chance of certification.   

Joining A Class Action

If you are a part of the affected group, you may get a letter notifying you that you qualify. Most of the time, you are considered as represented by the Lead Plaintiffs unless you ask to be taken out of the group. The letter will have a form for you to send in to do that.

If you think you are part of an injured class, but weren’t notified, you can always do an internet search for lawsuits pertaining to the injury. Lawyers will generally have websites dedicated to these lawsuits and they will list who you can call to join up.

The way to know if you qualify is to read the allegations carefully with your specific injury in mind. Were you injured in the way and by the thing that is listed in the description of the lawsuit? Then you probably qualify. There should be a description of who qualifies on the website, too.

Could You Be The Lead Plaintiff?

Do you want to start a class action and be the Lead Plaintiff? This is possible, provided you think your case fits all the requirements of being certified. You would have the responsibility of hiring the lawyer, going to all the hearings, consulting on the case and acting as a witness. With the additional responsibility comes additional reward. When the settlement is decided on, the Lead Plaintiff gets an amount decided on before the other members of the class get the rest of the recovery amount.  

What Are You Going To Get Out Of It?

The benefits of joining a class action lawsuit, instead of being the lead plaintiff, is that you don’t go through the expense and effort of consulting in the lawsuit. You still can be compensated for your suffering, and you won’t be alone in your efforts against what could be a major corporation.

So, a product has injured you and, after reading this, you think you should look into a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer. You can contact Aiman-Smith & Marcy for more information and help. They are a mid-sized law firm that specializes in consumer fraud, employment law, and, of course, class action lawsuits. They look forward to helping you in your next steps.

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Lisseth Bayona

Attorney

Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.

Education

 

Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for 20 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.

Education

University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.

 

Educación

Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986