Class Action Lawsuits & “Similarly Situated” Individuals

In many cases, a lawsuit concerns a single alleged harm done by one party (the Defendant) to another party (the Plaintiff).  Sometimes, however, a harm extends far beyond the two-party context.  If you, as a consumer, have suffered a harm at the hands of a company, chances are you are not alone.  We live in the age of mass production, so where there is one defectively designed product, there may be many.


When this is the case, it would take tens of thousands of lawsuits for each consumer wronged by a company to hold the company responsible for the damage it has caused.  Of course, this would amount to further wrong, as the time and cost of each individual lawsuit would be drastic, and keep many plaintiffs waiting for a very long time.  Fortunately, it is possible for all of the wronged consumers to band together as plaintiffs and seek redress from the company in one lawsuit.  This type of litigation is what is known as a “class action” lawsuit.  The purpose of this article is to explain the fundamental aspects of a class action lawsuit.


If you have been hurt by a company, contact an experienced class action attorney.  You may be eligible to join a class action lawsuit to seek compensation for your losses.


A “Class” Is A Group of Similarly Situated Individuals


For a class action lawsuit to be valid, the group of plaintiffs binding together to sue must be certified by a judge.  It is this group that constitutes the “class” in the action against the company.  In order to be certified, it must be first established that the class is comprised of “similarly situated” individuals.  To be similarly situated in the consumer class action context is to have suffered sufficiently similar injuries in a sufficiently similar way.  It is this level of similarity that justifies bringing all claims together in one lawsuit in the interest of efficiency.If the class of plaintiffs is not similarly situated, it is not proper to bring a class action lawsuit.  Instead, multiple independent lawsuits would be necessary.


Continuing with the themes of practicality and efficiency, one or a few members of the plaintiff class are designated as “named plaintiffs” upon certification.  Because it would be impractical to involve every single plaintiff in a class that potentially includes thousands or tens or thousands, the “named plaintiffs” act as representatives of the entire class.


What to Do If You Have Been Hurt By A Company


If you have been hurt by a company, contact an experienced consumer protection attorney.  In seeking a justice from a large and likely wealthy corporation, it may be in your interest for a number of reasons to band together with other similarly situated consumers.  Class action litigation is complex, but a skilled and experienced class action attorney will navigate every nuance in working to obtain the compensation you need and deserve for the harms you have suffered.