Whether you purchased a defective product, have been involved in an investment scheme or are experiencing mistreatment on the job, you may run into other people who have similar experiences. In these situations, a class action lawyer can help. If you and others have been injured or suffered a monetary loss due to an organization’s action, you can use the power of collective action (a class action lawsuit) to earn compensation.
What Is a Class Action?
A class-action lawsuit allows many people with the same claim – both those located in Berkeley and nationwide – against an organization to act at the same time. Depending on the action, different people may have experienced different types of harm. They will be sorted into “classes” in the lawsuit.
Because of the size and complexity of class action lawsuits, not every law firm is equipped to handle them. We have assembled a list of law firms that are capable of handling these claims for you and others who have experienced the same type of harm.
Common Reasons For Class Action Lawsuits
Financial crimes – Securities and investment fraud, including Ponzi schemes, are one of the most common reasons people seek collective action. Famous examples include Bernie Madoff and the Wells Fargo account fraud scandals.
Dangerous drugs/health products – Prescription drugs, over the counter medication and medical devices can harm many people due to their widespread use to treat a variety of medical conditions. Examples include lawsuits related to talcum powder and opioids.
Defective products – Many people can purchase a number of goods before they realize something is wrong. In 2010, Toyota was the defendant in a lawsuit related to defective airbags. Class action lawsuits can be an important step in improving product safety for consumers in the future.
Employment actions – Employees may experience widespread discrimination, termination or wage theft. One employee missing a few hundred dollars on their paycheck may not make a viable lawsuit. However, many employees who have experienced the same thing can take action together.
Environmental hazards – Many people can be harmed when an organization does not follow rules the related to the disposal of chemicals and other environmental hazards. For example, people who live along a river may use a class action lawsuit to recover damages due to a company dumping chemicals in the water.
Civil rights violations – Businesses that do not accommodate people with disabilities or police departments that have engaged in racial profiling have been subject to class-action lawsuits in the past.
These and other types of class action claims can be further complicated when they are interwoven with issues such as the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic or other factors that can amplify the harm that people experience.
Not sure what to ask a class action attorney? Here are a few sample questions to get you started:
How long have you been in practice?
How many class action cases have you handled?
How much does a class action case cost?
Where is your law office in Berkeley located?
What are the next steps?
Many people who need to find a lawyer in California have never hired a lawyer before. Talking to a lawyer may be a new experience and you might want some help getting started. Here are some questions you may want to ask a lawyer before deciding who to hire.
What is your main practice area?
How many years of experience do you have in California with cases like mine?
How often do you take cases to trial or settle them out of court?
Can I take my case through mediation or arbitration?
Do you offer a free consultation?
What are your fees and costs?
Will you be the attorney primarily handling my case?
How will I be kept up-to-date about my case?
In order to practice law in California, attorneys have to both pass the California bar exam and be admitted by the State Bar of California. Most attorneys in California graduate from an accredited law school but some lawyers are admitted through on-the-job experience for a minimum of 4 years and through passing an additional legal exam. After a lawyer is admitted to law practice in California, they can practice in almost any area of law.
Lawyers in California are held to strict ethical guidelines known as the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorneys may have duties and limitations in:
Duty of client advocacy
Conflicts of interest
Duty of candor
Limitations in soliciting clients
Restrictions on handling a client's money
Many people avoid calling a lawyer because they are worried it will be too expensive. In many cases, a lawyer can end up saving the client money. This includes getting an increased award, recovering additional damages, avoiding financial problems in the future, and avoiding future disputes and litigation. Some legal areas even allow the lawyer to recover legal fees from the party at fault.