Finding Justice: 3 Tips to a Successful Class Action Lawsuit

Many citizens seek to file class action lawsuits every year in response to perceived wrongdoings that have racial, religious, or gender related elements. Here are 3 tips every person must keep in mind before he or she sets out to file a class action suit.

1. Know What a Class Action Lawsuit Is

A class action suit is loosely defined as a lawsuit filed by a group of people who believe their rights were violated in some way. During this type of suit, a judge will decide the rights of several people at once. For example, if all the African-American and Hispanic tenants in an apartment building believe a landlord has treated them unfairly by because they are non-white, they might file a class-action suit. The judge’s responsibility would be to decide what the whole group is entitled to from the landlord under existing laws.

Before a group files a class action suit, it must choose what type of suit it seeks to file. For example, a consumer class action can be brought when people collectively believe they’ve sustained injury from a company’s practices. In contrast, an employment suit occurs when a group of employees file based on Labor Code violations, such as workplace discrimination.

2. Determine How Many People are Needed

It takes only one person to start a class action. In New York, where the statute iof limiations for overtime is six years, the rule of thumb is that if 40 people worked in one of the affected positions over that period of six years, there are enough people for class treatment. Thus, if there is high turnover, a company employing 15 people at any given time might easily be a class defendant. This gives the attorney a quick and efficient way to establish that many people have been injured in similar ways or suffered similar damages. Generally, a single person files as plaintiff on behalf of the group. However, a class action case can have more than one plaintiff, if the attorney believes doing so will strengthen the case.

3. Choose the Right Attorney

It is best to  choose an attorney with a great deal of class action experience in the type of suit that will be filed. The plaintiffs should also ask the attorney how many cases similar to theirs have been filed recently. Finally, plaintiffs should ask whether their attorney will be the “lead” attorney or a subordinate. Plaintiffs should always know the lead attorney and feel comfortable contacting him or her with questions or concerns.

If you need insight into a possible wage and hour, discrimination or harassment case, contact a New York employment lawyer with Joseph & Kirschenbaum at (212) 688-5640 or for a free consultation.

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