Your question is, "Can I settle with them before filing a class action?"
Yes, you can potentially settle your individual claims against this financial institution before filing a lawsuit against them. If you are able to convince the management of this institution that you have valid claims and the means to pursue such claims, they may be willing to compensate you for your loses. However, they certainly will not pay you a settlement based on the value of a class action alleging claims that are similar to your individual claims. There are many reasons for this.
First, you cannot provide this company a class-wide waiver and release of claims. You can only provide them a release of your own individual claims. A release of class claims can only be provided with court approval, after notice has been given to the class in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. So, it would be extremely imprudent for the company to pay you an amount greater than the value of your own claims when the company can still be sued by other similarly situated persons.
Second, companies don't just roll over because you think you have the goods on them. When companies face exposure to substantial claims in a class action, they vigorously defend those claims. And they hire very experienced (and expensive) lawyers to defend them.
Third, you can receive compensation for coming forward and representing a class of people who have claims similar to yours. If you retain a class action law firm and your lawyers are successful in obtaining a decent recovery for the class, you would be eligible to receive an incentive award from the court when it approves the settlement. These types of incentive awards vary greatly from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The amount of an incentive award is completely at the court's discretion. This incentive award would be in addition to any recovery you would be entitled to receive as a member of the class. Also, incentive awards are not available for class actions brought under the federal securities laws, so that's another thing to consider.
Fourth, if the company is defrauding the government, then you could be a whistle blower under state and/or federal false claims statutes and receive an award based on a percentage of the money that you assist the government in recovering. But you definitely need a lawyer to help navigate the treacherous waters of whistle blower claims.
Finally, you are probably not the only person who knows what this company is up to, so again it wouldn't make sense for the company to pay you a windfall to quietly go away.
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.
First of all, you provide no information about the nature of your claim, making it impossible to even approximate an answer to your question.
Next, you should be aware that if a class action was filed and you were a named class representative, your legal obligation is to act in the interests of all other class members - and not strictly yourself/
Finally, your question about settling on the threat of a class action is improper, and no attorney - representing yourself or the credit union - will ethically consider that kind of demand.
Class actions are not get rich quick schemes; even attorneys who get large fees first put in hundreds or thousands of hours, and thousands of dollars of their own money, without a guarantee of any return at all.
You may well have grounds for a class action. But you should discuss this with an experienced class action attorney, and get ready for the long haul.
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