What is a Class Action?

Eggnatz, Lopatin & Pascucci, LLP (ELP) concentrates its consumer class action practice in the area of food and dietary supplement litigation. We believe that all of us, as consumers, are entitled to truthful and non-misleading advertising and labeling when shopping at the store for products we put in our bodies. A class action provides the means by which an individual consumer can file a lawsuit seeking relief not only for the individual, but also for all other similarly situated people (i.e. everyone else who purchased the same product and was harmed the same way). Our court system is the “check and balance” on the executive and legislative branches, and a class action allows consumers to be the check and balance on corporations who unjustly profit by false, deceptive, misleading or unfair advertising or business practices.

Generally, for a case to be certified as a class action, the common issues of all class members’ claims must predominate over any individualized issues. In other words, if the lead class representative proves his or her claim, then all class members also prove their claims. For example, in a food labeling class action, if the lead class representative proves that the offending advertising is false or likely to mislead a reasonable consumer, then liability is also proven for every other member of the class. The significance of this is that class actions allow for an aggrieved individual to obtain relief for the entire group of consumers who paid for the same product that was not as represented or defective.

Usually, the primary relief sought is injunctive relief in the form of a label or advertising, or ingredient change. This provides a tremendous societal benefit and freedom of an informed choice to all past and future purchasers of the product. In addition to injunctive relief, a class action also provides consumers a means of financial restitution due to a company’s unfair business practice.  This often comes in the form of reimbursement of the purchase price of the product, or the difference between the premium price charged for the product and the true market value of the product without the false advertising. A significant portion of class action litigation is devoted to ascertaining, locating, identifying, and administering payments to class members.  If the Plaintiff is successful in obtaining justice for the class, then counsel for the Plaintiff can petition the court for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to be paid by the offending defendant company. Depending on the circumstances of the case, and the personal involvement of the class representative, the court is also permitted to award an enhancement or incentive award to the class representative as compensation for standing up for the rights of others and obtaining relief for class.

We invite you to click our “In the News Link” to read about some noteworthy cases ELP has handled. If you or a loved one have been financial harmed due to a false or deceptive advertising or business practice, CONTACT ELP FREE today to discuss your rights. With offices in Florida and California, and co-counsel relationships in other jurisdictions, we help aggrieved consumers find justice nationwide.

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