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What Are Class Actions?

When many people have been legally harmed by the same action or omission, state and federal laws recognize that it probably does not make sense for each of these individuals to file their own lawsuit, especially when the outcome from one of the cases is likely to be quite similar to the outcome in the other cases. Thus in order to save the time, costs, and energy associated with hundreds of the same types of claims, these parties may be able to move forward with a single lawsuit known as a class action. Our class actions lawyers can assist employees in wage and hour class actions, and we can provide you with more information about how class actions work in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Defining a Class Action

As the Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII) clarifies, a class action is “a procedural device that permits one or more more plaintiffs to file and prosecute a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group, or class.” The LII further explains that a class action “allows courts to manage lawsuits that would otherwise be unmanageable if each class member (individuals who have suffered the same wrong at the hands of the defendant) were required to be joined in the lawsuit as a named plaintiff.”

Prerequisites for a Class Action

How can you know if your claim is similar enough to another person’s in order for a class action to make sense? In other words, how can you be sure that you and other parties are really all part of the same group such that filing a class action is the next logical step? The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) identify the prerequisites to a class action, which include the following:

  • Class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable (which means that there are so many people that individual lawsuits would not be practical under the circumstances);
  • There are questions of law or fact common to the class (which means that the individuals in the class have experienced the same or very similar type of action that has resulted in the same or very similar harm);
  • Claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class (which means that the plaintiffs and the other members of the class have the same or very similar claims); and
  • Representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class (which means that the named plaintiffs, the claims they allege, and the ultimate jury verdict or damages award they receive will protect and benefit all members of the class) .

Contact Our Class Action Employment Lawyers Serving Clients in Massachusetts and Connecticut

If your employer violated your rights under federal or state law, and if you believe that your employer has treated other employees similarly, it may be possible to move forward with a class action claim. It will be important to have an experienced employment law attorney evaluate your case and the cases of other employees in similar situations to your own to determine whether a class action lawsuit is appropriate under the circumstances. If a class action may be appropriate to allow you and other employees to pursue a claim against your employer, our firm can work with you to ensure that all class action requirements are met. Contact Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, LLC online or call our firm at (413) 785-1400 to find out more about how we can assist you with your claim.