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Frequently Asked Questions: Class Action Lawsuits

Here’s the basic gist of everything you need to know about class action lawsuits.

What is a class action lawsuit?
A class action is a lawsuit brought by one or more people, called “class representatives,” on behalf of a larger group, or “class.” It is a tool for courts to efficiently and expeditiously manage the case. All members of the class share similar claims, circumstances, and/or grievances. Class actions ensure justice for people whose individual claims are too small to justify hiring an attorney.

Clarkson Law Firm primarily handles class actions on a contingency fee basis, meaning it’s our specialty and we only earn a fee if we win or settle your case.

What types of cases are best suited for class actions?
Lawsuits involving low cost consumer goods, hidden fees, and bait-and-switch schemes are examples of cases that lend themselves well to class actions. Clarkson Law Firm has prosecuted class actions against some of the world’s largest corporations, from global cosmetics companies and food manufacturers, to multinational pharmaceutical and medical device makers, to big banks. Recently, our firm initiated class actions on behalf of consumer classes who were deceived by “olive oil” salad dressings that are made of mostly other oils, boxes of movie theater candy packaged with mostly empty space, and energy drinks labeled as “preservative-free” but which actually contain preservatives.

These are just a handful out of hundreds of examples of consumer fraud that people deal with every day. We encourage you to take a few minutes to contact Clarkson Law Firm if you’ve been wronged, no matter how insignificant or powerless you may feel.

How do I know if I have a consumer protection lawsuit on my hands?
At Clarkson, we start by asking if you’ve purchased a product or service in reliance upon certain advertised benefits and then did not get what you were promised. From that point, we thoroughly investigate the strength of your potential legal claims, including how many others may have been affected in the same way.

Clarkson Law Firm offers every member of the public a free case evaluation. Once you submit your free case evaluation form, an attorney from our firm will review the information provided and follow up within 24 hours.

Is there a minimum amount that I need to spend in order to be eligible for a class action lawsuit?
Absolutely not. Whether you’ve been swindled out of $17.00 or 17 cents, no amount is too small to take legal action.

Do I need to be from a certain state to take legal action.
No, Clarkson Law Firm partners with legal firms throughout the country to protect consumers in all 50 states.

Until what point in time can I make claims against a product manufacturer or service provider?
Most states’ consumer protection statutes require consumers to bring their claims within 3-4 years of purchase in order for them to be able to file a consumer class action lawsuit. Of course, there are exceptions, and if you wait too long before pursuing legal action, you could miss the statute of limitations deadline. If that happens, your claims would be forever barred. That’s why Clarkson Law Firm encourages consumers like you to contact us as soon as you can to evaluate your legal claims before they expire.

How much money am I entitled to receive?
It is unethical and unlawful for a lawyer or law firm to promise compensation in exchange for your participation in a lawsuit.

Class members who file a claim against a settlement fund are entitled to receive a court-approved amount, which can vary from $5 to $100 or more, depending on the nature of the case.

Class representatives, or named plaintiffs who lead the class action on behalf of the class by lending their names to the lawsuit, participating in depositions, document gathering, and other “discovery” processes, may be awarded a court-approved incentive award or “enhancement” for their time and effort expended on behalf of the class. Broadly speaking, enhancements range from $500 to $2,500 or more, depending on the nature of the case and the extent of the class representative’s participation.

How will I receive my compensation?
Class members receive payment, if any, according to the terms of the court-approved settlement. In cases against companies who don’t maintain a database of contact information for the aggrieved class members, such as a food manufacturer who deceptively sells products through a grocery store, notice of a settlement is sent via published notice. This could be through magazine or newspaper ads, Facebook or Twitter ads, or some other manner of notice. If the company has the victims’ contact information, as in an unpaid meal and rest break class action against an employer, you should receive direct notice.  For example, through email or regular mail.

Is participating in a class action lawsuit worth it even if I didn’t spend a lot of money on the product?
You’re not alone in thinking that it’s not worth the time to pursue a lawsuit, but there is strength in numbers. Our clients against Ferrara Candy Company each only spent a couple of bucks on these candy boxes, but there were millions of people who suffered the same damages. By standing together, consumers forced Ferrara to be more transparent with their products and be held accountable for their actions. In fact, over 80,000 consumer made claims to a $2.5 million settlement in that case.

I bought a product or service and never received the advertised benefits. How can I initiate a class action lawsuit?
Fill out a free case evaluation form today by clicking here. We will review your materials and answer within 24 hours.


“At Clarkson, we champion consumer protection rights and prosecute cases on behalf of consumers and small businesses injured by fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices.
It is our privilege to fight for you.”
– Shireen Clarkson, Partner at Clarkson Law Firm

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