How Do Big Companies Derail Consumer Class Action Lawsuits?

When a group of consumers goes up against a big company in a consumer class action lawsuit, the company will have its army of lawyers working as hard as possible to rip the class action lawsuit apart. The company’s lawyers will be looking for any way to get the class action dismissed because if the consumer plaintiffs win, in can mean big losses to – or bad press for –the company. That is, companies don’t like admitting wrongdoing and don’t want to encourage lawsuits – regardless of merit! Class action payouts are seldom cheap and are perceived as bad for business. As such, there are a number of different strategies that the lawyers for big companies use, and below are some of the most common tactics used to derail a consumer class action lawsuit.


Tactics to Expect The Defense Lawyers To Use In A Class Action


  • Challenging Certification of the Class. One of the first things that class action defense lawyers do is challenge the certification of the class. A group of plaintiffs in a consumer class action suit must be certified by the court, meaning that there must be:
    • a sufficient number of possible plaintiffs,
    • sharing similar claims against the defendant,
    • where the named plaintiff’s claims are representative of the typical claims of the rest of the plaintiffs, and
    • a representative plaintiff must be willing and able to represent the group fairly and adequately to protect the interests of the other class members.

At a minimum, the court must decide that the above criteria are satisfied in order to certify the class action. Class action defense lawyers will try to challenge whichever aspect of the certification criteria that they can and often challenge multiple aspects of certification at one time.

  • Challenging Ascertainability. A class action cannot move forward if the court cannot reasonably identify who the class members are. This means that the class of plaintiffs must be adequately defined and that the group be ascertainable so that the class of potential plaintiffs can be properly notified of the class action, i.e., the plaintiffs due process rights can be protected. The court needs to be able to identify who is supposed to be part of the class action plaintiff group, and who is not. This requirement has been a stumbling block in a small number of courts that have adopted a “heightened ascertainability” standard, but most courts have refused to adopt a heightened standard.
  • Filing Pretrial Motions to Dismiss the Class Action Case. The class action defense lawyers will file any and every pretrial motion that they can to try and have the case dismissed before the case ever really gets started. These motions frequently seek dismissal based on procedural matters (such as lack of subject matter jurisdiction or improper venue) or on claims that the consumer has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted).


Contact A New York Consumer Class Action Lawyer


Class actions put regular consumers up against big companies and they allow the little guy to obtain compensation for a small injury as a group, when filing individual claims would have been a waste of resources and time since the damages sought are so small. Defense lawyers will go to great lengths to defeat a consumer class action lawsuit, so be mentally and legally prepared. Contact a consumer class action lawyer at the Bromberg Law Office, P.C. today to schedule an appointment.