A Class Action Lawsuit Myth Debunked

Gavel photo.jpgA long-standing legal right in this country is under attack.

Class action lawsuits provide an effective legal remedy to those who have suffered similar harm due to the wrongful conduct of others. In many instances, the size of the damages may preclude individuals from pursuing justice on their own. But when pursued collectively by a group of hundreds if not thousands of wronged plaintiffs, the damages in total are significant and legal action becomes feasible.

Class Actions Level the Playing Field

In short, class action lawsuits level the playing field and permit the little guy to take on big corporate entities in court. It's not surprising, then, that class action lawsuits have their detractors.

A report recently published by the Public Citizen Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog organization, dispels a new argument against class action lawsuits.

Some opponents of class actions say they often represent individuals who have not suffered damages. They call these types of cases, "no-injury" class action lawsuits.

The report specifically rebuts arguments made by a representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who, when testifying before Congress earlier this year, gave examples of what he said were no-injury class actions. The litigation he spotlighted included products that were alleged to be defective or those whose claims made by their manufacturers were questionable.

Consumer Class Actions Involving Financial or Physical Harm

Public Citizen reviewed the lawsuits termed "no-injury" in the Congressional hearing and determined that the plaintiffs suffered injuries in all of them. They found that individuals suing over defective products were faced with at least two harmful scenarios involving bodily or financial harm:

• Consumers having to choose between paying to fix the defective product or risk injury when using it

• Consumers overpaying for products that didn't perform as advertised

Those who were physically injured from defective products or who suffered economic damages by paying too much for products that don't work correctly deserve their day in court. Class action attorneys play a valuable role in protecting the legal rights of consumers and ending wrongful corporate actions so others aren't hurt in the future.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.


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