I have yet to file a products liability suit in CA. I have a few friends through out the country who have a similar issue with the same product. I just learned that a class action may be certified soon. Should I file now? What happens to my claims or my lawsuit when the class action will be filed? What about if it gets certified?
Any cases I should read about this?
Real advice appreciated. Telling me to go consult an attorney isn't helpful as I have already done that and would like to hear more thoughts. Thank you!
Personal Injury Lawyer
The answer is not an easy one because the way class actions are handled can differ by case and by state or Federal Circuit. Are you considering filing in state or federal court? Is the potential class action in state or federal court?
If you file now, then you may be able to consolidate your case with the class action if filed in the same district. If your class action is the Multi District type of cases, then there is usually a forced consolidation of all similar federal cases, with the potential option to get out and go alone.
You should contact the attorney’s office that is attempting to get the class action certified, and see if the office is taking on new clients. I really do not see an upside to filing now except if there are statute of limitations issues. Why not wait and let the dust settle?
DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.
Class Action Attorney
There is no simple cookie cutter answer to your question and it would be irresponsible for any lawyer to suggest that there is such an answer. There are numerous factors that could affect your rights and your ability to prosecute your own individual claim.
For instance, is the proposed class action on behalf of a national class or is the class limited to residents of a specific state or states? If it isn't a nationwide class, does the class cover your state? If not, then your claims may not even overlap those of the proposed class.
Another question is the time period covered by the class action -- does it overlap the period of time for which you are making claims?
Have class actions regarding this product been filed in more than one federal district court? If so, has there been a proceeding before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation? If so, did the MDL Panel grant the MDL or deny it? If an MDL has been ordered, then your individual claim could be designated as a tag-a-long and consolidated with the MDL. If the MDL was denied, then you may have another argument for going it alone, if that is what you want to do. Oh, by the way, you haven't even hinted as to whether you want your case to be consolidated with the class action or whether you want to proceed with an individual case.
If you want to prosecute your own case, you will most likely be notified of your right to opt out of the class in any event.
Legal Information is Not Legal Advice My answer provides information about the law based on the limited information provided in the questions asked and is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions, and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. The answer to the question is for educational and informational purposes only. The law differs in each jurisdiction and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on the jurisdiction or situation. Accordingly, I highly recommend that you consult with an attorney to discuss the details of your problem so you can get legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances.