South Carolina Class Action Attorney
South Carolina Class Action Lawyer
On This Page
What is a class action lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is a legal process for one or more plaintiffs to file a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group or a “class”. Class actions are governed by federal law and provide that a action may be filed in federal court if the claim arises under federal law or if the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000 and one of the following conditions is met: (1) A class must be so numerous it is not practical to handle all claims on an individual basis. A class can be as small as 30 plaintiffs and as large as many thousands; (2) There must be questions of law or facts common to all members of the class. This is the only way a judge can issue a ruling affecting all claimants; (3) One or more members of the group are representative of all members; (4) The appointed class representative will represent the interests of all others. FRCP Rule 23(a); 28 U.S.C.A. § 1332 (d).
Other subsections of Rule 23 set forth additional requirements for procedures and handling of collective actions, and class actions are considered complex litigation.
What are common types of class action lawsuits?
Common types of class actions include:
Antitrust Violations. In the United States, anti-competitive behavior, such as price fixing, market allocation, no-poach agreements, and bid rigging, have long been considered illegal.
Aviation Accidents. Commercial airline accidents are horrendous events that can impact a lot of people. The victims and their families often choose to file class actions because litigating individual airline cases can be very expensive with expert fees. Pooling those resources through a class action to prove a similar fault – the reason for the airplane crashing – can be an effective strategy.
Consumer Protection Laws. Telephone consumer protection act protects individuals from bad actors such as spammers, companies that engage in false advertising, and companies that act unfair or engage in deceptive trade practices.
Dangerous Drugs. There has been a recent trend in pharmaceutical manufacturers being held responsible for falsely advertising dangerous drugs. If you or a loved one became addicted to drugs because of false advertising and were injured as a result, we may be able to help.
Data Breach Claims. An emerging type of case, so many of our technologies and applications track and keep valuable personal data. In the event of a data breach, your personal information including health care or financial information could be at risk.
Defective Medical Devices / Product Liability. If a medical device fails to work properly or is known to cause damage, the manufacturer may be liable for those damages to the entire group of injured individuals.
Employment. Employment class action lawsuits, in which groups of employees who sue their common employer, are among the most commonly filed class actions. A significant number of employment class actions involve allegations of discrimination, no poach agreements, or failure to pay over-time/unpaid wages.
Environmental Hazards and Toxic Torts. When a dam breaks or there is a chemical spill, nearby impacted landowners may have similar enough claims to bring a class action. Damages in environmental and toxic tort cases can include both compensatory, which reimburse plaintiffs for actual losses, and punitive damages, which punish the wrongdoer and seek to prevent future misconduct.
Product Liability. If a product is dangerous or defective, the victims injured (or their families) may be able to bring a class action to stop the injustice.
What is the process for filing a class action lawsuit in South Carolina?
A class action lawsuit begins by one or several named plaintiffs filing a claim against the defendant(s) on behalf of a proposed class, all of which must have suffered a common injury or damages. Not all class actions look alike, but generally, after the complaint is filed and during discovery, the named plaintiff(s) must file a motion for class certification.
The defendants will likely object and oppose the motion for class certification based on a number of possible issues including whether the named plaintiffs are sufficiently representative of the class, whether there is commonality amongst the injured individuals, and whether there is a relationship with the law firm or firms handling the case.
Generally, in order for the proposed class to be certified it must meet the following requirements:
- The class is so large that individual suits are impractical;
- Common legal or factual claims exist;
- The claims or defenses are typical of the plaintiffs or defendants, and
- The representative parties must adequately protect the interests of the class.
How do you start a class action in South Carolina?
Just one person can start a case on behalf of a group of injured people. A person may have a particular grievance against a company and not even know thousands of other people have the same type of claim.
The first step is for the court to appoint a class representative to be the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. An experienced South Carolina class action lawyer can help.
Should I opt-out and file my own case? What is a class action out-out lawsuit?
For individuals or corporations that have a large claim, it may be beneficial for you to opt out of a class action settlement and file your own suit. Generally, an individual action – or direct action – will provide a plaintiff with a larger recovery than if that had stayed in the class. However, if the claim is minor than there likely is not benefit to opting out of the class.
An experienced class action and plaintiff lawyer can assess your claim and determine whether it is best for you or your corporation to remain in the class settlement or to opt out and sue direct.
Keibler Law Group has unique experience in representing class action opt out litigants and successfully recover significantly more for their clients than if they had stayed in the class. This decision to opt out of the class is a case-by-case, fact specific determination that is based on the size of your claim, business relationships, and appetite for risk.