General Question

finkelitis's avatar

How does one launch a class action lawsuit?

Asked by finkelitis (1907points) December 5th, 2010

Long story short, I bought an expensive mattress from Simmons that is pretty much defunct after two years. I went online and saw that many people have had the same experience, and that the warranties aren’t honored. It also seems like Simmons was aware of the problems ahead of time. Is this the kind of thing that lawyers pick up and make into class action lawsuits? I don’t really want to spend my time on this, but I’m just curious…

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

You would take your case to an attorney with the evidence that you have gathered and they would evaluate it. If they think it has merit, they will launch a suit and try to get the courts to grant class-action status. They would probably take it on a contingency basis.

roundsquare's avatar

If there are enough people, you can get a class action suit. In general you need:
1. A class of people with similar enough complaints.
2. One or a few people who will “stand in” for the class.
In this case, you would need a LOT of people to make it worthwhile since the claims are likely to be small in most cases.
Also, depending on what kind of case you bring, a class action might not be the way to go. In some cases you need to show reliance on a statement they made, which often has to be shown individually. Can’t really do that by proxy.
Of course, if you are planning to do this yourself, as @marinelife said, talk to an attorney.

cazzie's avatar

It depends on what state you live in, unless this somehow falls under a Federal jurisdiction…
but I don’t think it does… Car safety, food and drug…. that would be filed in a federal court, but a consumer good like this not actually causing safety damage…nah. So, if you’re in California, you’re in better luck than the rest of the US because they have the best consumer protection laws it seems…. but otherwise, this would be a State court matter, I think.

Have a chat with a lawyer that specialises in consumer rights, if they’re not too busy helping people who have been persecuted by debt collection agencies.

YARNLADY's avatar

I believe it is up to the lawyer to launch a class action, and he would need the approval of the jurisdiction he was in.

roundsquare's avatar

@YARNLADY You generally need a lawyer and at least one regular plaintiff (often more than one). You need a lawyer because class actions suits get complicated. You need a plaintiff (or plaintiffs) to make sure he acts in the best interest of the party. Also, the judge is supposed to keep them in line as well (e.g. prevent the plaintiff from taking a settlement that helps him/her but hurts the party).

If you have those and several other conditions, the judge can certify the class.

SiameseIfYouPlease's avatar

Step One; Determine if this is a good statewide class action, or a nationwide class action.

Step Two: Contact the bar association in your state for a referral to an attorney in your state that is either qualified to handle class actions at the state or Federal level, depending on your choice for step one.

- Class actions must be handled by attorney with the appropriate experience.

- Federal class actions must be handled by attorney admitted to practice in federal court.

Step Three: Contact that attorney to see if they feel it is a case they would be interested in pursuing.

If they are, then move forward. If they are not, then either drop it or speak to another attorney. If you speak to three separate attorneys and none of them are interested, then your case probably has no merit.

Jessdeb's avatar

A lawyer or firm will launch a class action suit. They do their due diligence, reach out to potential clients and file a suit on behalf of the clients. (the quick answer).

amykloster's avatar

You basically have to solicit a group of people who have all suffered similar types of injury because of the same product, person, or company. You must then make sure that every person involved is covered in the same state jurisdiction. Here is a law article on determining state jurisdiction for class action suits: You will then need a lawyer who is knowledgeable in class action suits-they are very different from the common individual personal injury suit.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther