Were you injured in North Miami Beach due to a defective product or a bad drug? Are you sure that you’re the only victim? Many times, product liability cases involve more than one victim, and additional victims are welcome to participate in a class-action lawsuit. A North Miami Beach Class Action Lawsuit Attorney with experience in product liability can help you determine if you’re eligible for compensation for your injuries and if a class action suit is possible in your case.
What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?
Class action suits generally involve product liability cases—that is, cases in which a creator, manufacturer, or distributor of a product is negligent in its processes, resulting in defects that cause harm to users of the product. A class-action lawsuit arises when there are so many plaintiffs filing claims regarding the defective product that the judge opts to consolidate all of the cases into one suit. The “class” refers to a class, or group, of people represented in a single suit. Here are some characteristics of class action:
- Specific individuals are named as plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit, asserting the claims of the entire group.
- Class action suits are beneficial to those whose claims might be too small to pursue compensation on their own.
- While defective products are a common subject of class action suits, there are other types of cases that also may involve class action. Some of those include deceptive or unfair trade practices, consumer class actions (such as illegal charges on bills), and employment class actions.
- Class actions are initially filed as individual lawsuits on behalf of the individual who wishes to represent the class. At a point in time that there is sufficient evidence of additional victims, the lawyer filing the initial lawsuit can request certification of the case as a class action. At that time, other individuals who were injured by the same product or issue will be notified of their opportunity to join the class as a member of the class action.
- There are four requirements that must be met in order for a class to be certified: Numerosity, which is the number of individuals with similar claims against an entity; Commonality, which is the common facts that each member’s case shares with the cases of other members; Typicality, which means that the representative of the class has claims that are typical to the other members; and Adequacy, which is the fair and adequate protection of the interests of all members of the class.
- When certifying a class-action lawsuit, the case must meet at least one of the following criteria: (1) Separate lawsuits would lead to inconsistent rulings or ruling on one class member’s case would impact the rulings in other members’ cases; (2) The defendant has acted or declined to act in a certain way that affects the entire class; and (3) The common facts of the class action predominate any individual claims, making class action the best course of resolution for the members.
- A class member can opt out of the class action and pursue their own individual claims, but they must notify class counsel by a specific time frame or else they will be bound by the outcome of the class action.
- A settlement of a class-action lawsuit must be approved by the court after giving all class members time to object. The court may reject the settlement if it doesn’t provide a reasonable outcome for all members.
- A company can sometimes avoid liability in a class-action suit if they place a clause in their contracts with customers requiring that disputes be resolved by arbitration in lieu of a lawsuit.
- As noted by the Florida Bar, an additional benefit to class action lawsuits is that it helps to alleviate overcrowded court dockets by addressing otherwise repetitive issues all on one occasion.
- It is possible to divide a class membership into subclasses—grouping members with common claims—to help satisfy the commonality requirement for class certification as well as to keep the class action manageable.
- Class action suits are different from multi-district litigation. While multi-district litigation may have a common defendant in a number of different suits, they are unlike class action in that a commonality of the claims is not required. For example, if a drug company was named as a defendant in a class-action suit, it is one suit with multiple plaintiffs having similar claims. In multi-district litigation, the same drug company would be named as a defendant in numerous lawsuits and would face various claims that may or may not be similar to the other cases.
News About Class Action Lawsuits
According to a January 2019 article from Courthouse News Service, a federal judge has denied a settlement in the Yahoo data breach class action because Yahoo refuses to disclose the proposed settlement amount. Because of this, the judge stated, members are unable to determine the reasonableness of the settlement, including line items such as the costs of credit monitoring services, and the costs for class notification and settlement administration.
The article noted that the judge had previously expressed displeasure in what she said was a lack of motivation in the case with finding out the full extent of the damage caused by the largest data breach in history, or warnings to other consumers that they may need to take actions such as closing their bank accounts or getting new credit cards. While only five law firms from around the country were authorized to work on the case, about 140 attorneys from 33 firms wound up getting involved. Both sides must now go back to the negotiating table to work out another settlement, the article stated.
Class Action Lawsuit over Tainted Water
As reported in a January 2019 article from the Tampa Bay Times, it took about four months for state officials to warn some residents living near the Florida State Fire College in Ocala that their drinking water was tainted. Meanwhile, six former employees of the Fire College have joined a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturers of a flame retardant that was used at the college.
The class-action maintains that the flame retardant exposed the employees to toxic chemicals that caused serious medical issues such as thyroid disease, breast cancer, or kidney cancer. The chemicals found in the local drinking water are the same as those contained in the flame retardant.
A deputy secretary for the Florida Department of Health stated that the election was the reason for the delay in notifying area residents that the water was tainted. Open house public meetings were also rescheduled due to limited time and resources after Hurricane Michael. The department notified the residents in early November, two months after the Fire College began using bottled water that was given to them by the state Department of Environmental Protection, and three days after tests confirmed that the water was contaminated. There are 80 to 90 wells within a mile of the college, the article noted, and 16 were initially tested for the chemicals. Levels of the chemicals in the drinking water at the college were about three times higher than what is considered acceptable.
Class Action Lawsuit Over Carcinogen Exposure
A December 2018, article from Click Orlando reported that a class action lawsuit has been filed against the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), stating that two coal-fired units at the Stanton Power Plant in Orange County have exposed thousands of area residents to cancer-causing airborne contaminants. Some children living in the community have already been diagnosed with cancer, and attorneys working on the case say that there will likely be many more members to the class action in the coming weeks as more diagnoses come in.
While exact numbers of cancer diagnoses were not reported, there is an indication that as many as six children in the neighborhood have died from cancer, and as many as 30,000 residents live in the area affected by the contaminants. OUC stated that the Stanton Power Plant is heavily regulated by both the state and federal governments and that environmental stewardship is one of the key principles of the organization.
Employment Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit
The Citrus County Chronicle, in November 2018, reported that three deputies from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office have filed a class-action lawsuit against the sheriff’s office for a physical fitness test that is required for employment. The three deputies say that the physical fitness test is discriminatory against female and older employees. The eight-count complaint alleges that the physical fitness test, first implemented by the sheriff’s office in 2008, violates federal and state gender and age protections by tying the physical fitness test to pay and promotions.
An attorney for the sheriff’s office, in a motion for the judge to strike several allegations from the suit, stated that the plaintiffs have no standing because the physical fitness test did not injure them or cause a threat of injury, and that the plaintiffs did not show data backing up their claims that the test discriminated against a particular group. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for back pay, benefits, punitive damages, attorney fees, and an injunction to end the physical fitness tests.
Class Action Lawsuit Over Tainted Medication
In December 2018, a class-action lawsuit was filed in Florida against Walmart and three drug companies over a tainted blood pressure medication, Fierce Pharma reported. The medication was found to contain the impurity N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA). The drugmaker, Aurobindo, recalled 22 batches of the medication after finding that it contained NDEA, and the other two companies named in the action—drugmaker ScieGen Pharmaceuticals and distributor Westminster Pharmaceuticals initiated a nationwide voluntary recall in the United States.
The suit alleges that consumers were harmed as they were paying full price for an adulterated form of the medication and also paying for medical expenses related to the consumption of suspected carcinogen, NDEA. The suit also states that the companies failed to warn consumers of the presence of NDEA in their medication, were unjustly enriched by the sale of the tainted medicine, and grossly negligent in the sale of it. The case is just one of several filed in recent months against pharmaceutical companies who make and distribute medicines for high blood pressure.
Sibley Dolman Can Help With Your Class Action Claim
From car accidents caused by faulty car parts and tainted medications to dozens of other potential hazards involving household products, recreational equipment, electronics, and more, defective products and bad drugs can cause serious injuries and even death. When a number of people have suffered due to the negligence of a company, a class action lawsuit may be the best recourse for meeting the needs of all of the victims. However, class action lawsuits are complex from start to finish. From determining whether to file the class action suit in state or federal court to getting the case certified, to negotiating settlements that ensure that the reasonable needs of all members are satisfied, to litigating the issue in court, having an attorney guide the way increases your chance of a good outcome.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective product or you became sick over a bad drug, Sibley Dolman may be able to help. The lawyers of Sibley Dolman specialize in handling cases involving class-action lawsuits. Our lawyers have helped numerous clients seek compensation for injuries involving defective products and can assist you in your pursuit of compensation. When you enlist the assistance of Sibley Dolman, you are giving your case the best chance possible at recovering compensation through a fair settlement that you can be satisfied with. Our lawyers can help you gather evidence to help prove negligence, handle the filing of your claim, and deal with the insurance company when negotiating your settlement. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman are ready to hear the details of your case and to help you understand what your legal options are. To schedule your free consultation, contact Sibley Dolman online or call us at (305) 676-8154.
Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP
1820 NE 163rd St #306,
North Miami Beach, FL 33162