FAQs

WHAT ARE CLASS ACTIONS?

1.WHAT ARE CLASS ACTIONS?

Class actions are lawsuits that are brought on behalf of a large group of people who suffered the same claim or injury. It only takes one person to initiate a class action.

2. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CLASS ACTIONS?

Class actions often save resources because everyone with the same claim or injury does not have to file their own lawsuit.

Class actions also allow people with damages that are too small to warrant bringing an individual lawsuit the opportunity to still have their day in court. For example, if an employer requires hourly employees to attend an 8-hour training session without pay, it doesn’t make economic sense for an employee to file a lawsuit for 8 hours of unpaid wages. But if 750 employees were required to attend the same training session, then the employees can seek to recover everyone’s unpaid wages. 
 Also for example, if company made an unauthorized charge of $50 to a person’s debit card, it likely would be too costly for the person to sue the company. But if the company made the same unlawful charge to 50,000 debit cards, then the case’s value has dramatically increased.

Plus, class actions are often the only practical way to stop employers and companies from engaging in illegal practices and to hold them accountable.

3. ARE EMPLOYMENT CASES SUITABLE FOR CLASS ACTiONS?

Sometimes. Employment class actions are typically brought when employers enforce unlawful policies and procedures that impact numerous employees. Examples include, requiring employees to report to work 20 minutes early without pay, refusing to allow employees to leave work during their unpaid meal breaks, refusing to promote women to management positions, and requiring employees to purchase work-related equipment without reimbursement.

4.ARE CONSUMER CASES SUITABLE FOR CLASS ACTIONS?

Sometimes. Consumer class actions are generally brought when consumers are injured by a company’s systematic and illegal practices. Examples include unauthorized charges to credit or debit cards, illegal charges on telephone bills, illegal penalties for late-payments, and failure to protect consumer’s personal information.

5. HOW MUCH DOES A CLASS ACTION COST?

AMartin Law typically will advance all costs and fees. If the lawsuit is successful, AMartin Law will request the court to require the defendant to pay their fees and reimburse all out-of-pocket costs. If the case is unsuccessful, AMartin Law may absorb the loss.

6.ARE CLASS ACTIONS TIME-CONSUMING?

Generally no. If a person files a case as a class action, that person must actively participate in litigations by:

⇒ Being available to discuss your case and answer questions

⇒ Providing all relevant documents and information to your attorney

⇒ Attending a deposition to answer questions by the opposing attorney; however, not every case requires a deposition

⇒ Attending mediation, or being available by phone during mediation, to answer questions and discuss potential settlement options

⇒ In rare instances when class action make it to trial, attending trial and being available to take the stand to answer questions.

Class actions, however, move slowly. Things don’t happen overnight like on television. The work comes in waves. Sometimes there can a week-long or a month-long period when the plaintiff is actively assisting the attorneys on the case. Then a long period of time may pass, which can be several months, when the plaintiff doesn’t have to do anything. Overall, the time committed is not overly intrusive.

7. DOES A CLASS ACTION PLAINTIFF RECEIVE ANYTHING?

Generally yes if the class action is successfully resolved. Courts will generally award money to a class action plaintiff to compensate him or her for the time and effort in pursuing the case and obtaining relief for the class’ benefit. These awards can range from nominal amounts to over $50,000.

WHAT IS MEDIATION?

1.WHAT IS MEDIATION?

Mediation is when parties involved in a dispute or lawsuit try to resolve their difference with the help of a neutral mediator. Mediators are usually either retired judges, or retired or practicing attorneys. The mediator’s job is to help the parties see their dispute’s strengths and weaknesses and to reach a settlement. Everything discussed at mediation is confidential.

2.IS MEDIATION HELPFUL?

Often yes. Disputes and lawsuits often are resolved at mediation. Parties can discuss whatever they want with the mediator and can directly participate in the negotiation and decision-making process. Parties also have complete control over whether they want to accept or reject any proposed settlement terms.

3.HOW IS A MEDIATOR CHOSEN?

The parties’ lawyers will work together to select a mediator on which everyone can agree. Usually this will be someone who is very knowledgeable on the subject matter of the case, skilled at mediation and considered relatively unbiased. Mediators can be either retired judges or practicing or retired attorneys.

4. WHEN CAN A DISPUTE BE MEDIATED?

Anytime. A dispute can be mediated before or after a lawsuit is filed.

5.HOW MUCH DOES MEDIATION COST?

Varies. The cost of mediation depends on the mediator’s billing rate and the length of the mediation. Mediations can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to $10,000 or more. Parties usually split the cost of the mediation, but in some cases, the defendant or insurance company will pay for everything. Plaintiff’s attorneys will usually advance the costs in class actions and contingency cases.

6.WHERE DOES THE MEDITATION TAKE PLACE?

Anywhere. Usually mediation will take place at either the mediator’s office, a party’s office, or a rented office space.

7.WHAT HAPPENS AT MEDIATION?

Oftentimes mediations will begin with a “joint session” where all of the parties, attorneys, and insurance adjusters meet in one conference room with the mediator.
 The mediator will describe the process that will be followed and will give each side an opportunity to present their case or defense.

But in cases where there is hostility between parties or the parties don’t feel a joint-session will be productive, the mediator will not hold a joint session.

After the joint session (or if there is no joint session), the parties and their attorneys go to separate rooms and the mediator shuffles between rooms to discuss the case and convey settlement offers.

Mediation is nothing like trial. There is no court reporter. The parties will not be sworn in. The parties will not be subjected to cross-examination by the opposing side. And there is no judge to render formal rulings. To the contrary, the atmosphere at mediation is much more relaxed and informal.

8.HOW LONG IS MEDIATION?

Varies. Mediations can last a half-day, full day or multiple days.

9.WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MEDIATION?

If the case settles at mediation, the parties will often prepare and sign a term sheet that identifies the basic settlement terms. Then over the next few days, weeks, or months (depending upon the complexity of the case) the attorneys will work together – sometimes with the mediator’s help – to prepare a formal Settlement Agreement, which provides more details of the settlement.

If the case does not settle at mediation, the parties will decide to either file a lawsuit, continue with litigation if a lawsuit has already been filed, or to schedule another mediation at a later date.