SHOW NOTES FOR EPISODE #8: CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS

Introduction

Hello and welcome to Learning the Law, a podcast about all things legal with a focus on current events where we try and teach you things in an hour. My name is Ashley, aka PhoenixNymphy and my co-host who is the man of the hour, my husband Ron. This podcast is purely educational and should not be taken as legal advice, this podcast does not create an attorney client relationship, this podcast is based on his interpretation of relevant law. Any opinions expressed are the opinions of the individual making them and do not reflect the opinions of any firm, company or other individuals. Ron is a licensed practicing attorney in the state of California.

Itinerary 

  1. Our Weeks
  2. Questions from the audience
  3. Topic of the week – Class Action Lawsuits and Swalwell Lawsuit
    1.   Man suing Donald Trump

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) has filed a lawsuit against former president Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) accusing them of inciting the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

  1.  Likelihood to survive dismissal?

While sued in individual capacity, the defense will be he was president and representative at the time and cannot be civilly sued because of the ……

  1.   Westfall act
  2. Class Actions
  1. What is a class action?
  2. Why are they necessary
  3. Requirements

4. Do people really get justice from them?

  • Step 1. Complaint: An attorney files a class action complaint that describes the problem, the people affected and the compensation that the lawsuit will seek for the class of potential plaintiffs.
  • Step 2. Certification: A judge reviews the complaint and determines whether the case fits requirements for a class action lawsuit. If it does, the court will issue a certification order that recognizes the case as a class action lawsuit, defines who belongs in the class membership and appoints a class counsel to handle the suit.
  • Step 3. Notice: The court mandates that all possible members of the suing class must be notified of the significant details of the class action and must be given the option to opt in or out within a defined time frame.
    • Class members who opt in agree to abide by all of the class action suit’s terms, conditions and outcome.
    • Class members who opt out forego any compensation from the class action but retain options for pursuing their own individual lawsuit.
    • While potential class members may receive individual notifications through mail or electronic means, outreach for extremely large cases may use general news releases or published ads to encourage potential class members to contact the attorney handling the suit.
  • Step 4. Judgement: Most class action lawsuits conclude in a settlement, but regardless of where or how a case is settled, the court must approve the actionable steps and remedies agreed upon for the class membership.
  1.  How are mass tort claims different?
Mass Tort Example

A drug company releases a vaginal mesh product, which is implanted in hundreds of thousands of women across the country. Allegations surface that the implant was defectively designed and that the manufacturer failed to properly outline the products’ risks to patients and the medical community. Litigation stemming from this design defect and failure to warn will proceed as mass tort lawsuits.

Why Isn’t This a Class Action?

Each woman injured by the defective mesh implants has suffered a serious injury, which has potentially resulted in thousands of dollars in medical bills, serious physical and emotional suffering, and weeks or months of lost wages. Furthermore, each woman suffered varying degrees of harm, as the products’ side effects range from pelvic pain to mesh erosion requiring surgical intervention. Because of the extent of their losses, and the difference between their injuries, they are not suited for a class action lawsuit.

Class Action Example

An appliance manufacturer releases a defective dishwasher into the marketplace that is prone to failure within five years of purchase. Allegations surface that a design error is leading to this premature failure. A class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of all U.S. residents who bought the appliance within the last four years.

Why Isn’t This a Mass Tort Case?

Although thousands of people could have purchased the defective dishwasher, the cost of replacing each consumer’s dishwasher is less than $800. It would not be financially viable for each consumer to file a lawsuit seeking $800 in damages, as the cost of litigating the case would outweigh the potential recovery; however, it would be financially viable to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of 10,000 consumers who suffered $800 in damages. To the courts, each consumer has suffered minimal and similar harm ($800 to replace a broken dishwasher).

Closing

Thank you so much for listening to Learning the Law if you liked this podcast and want to hear more don’t forget to like, subscribe, follow, and share in all your favorite places. You can find it hosted on twitch at twitch.tv/phoenixnymphy use the hashtag #learningthelaw on tiktok to follow more there. You can find Ron on twitter at Necrokijo and Ashley on most social media platforms at PhoenixNymphy. If you have any questions please tweet, comment, or email at twolazydogsmedia@gmail.com. This has been a Two Lazy Dogs production.

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