Class Action Lawsuits
What are Class Actions?
A Class action is a lawsuit filed or defended by an individual or small group acting on behalf of a large group. At Higgerty Law we rely on a team of legal professionals and qualified experts, to achieve the optimal results for our clients. We routinely work with co-counsel from across Canada, and oftentimes the United States as well, in order to facilitate an effective process for handling each case.
Courts have sanctioned Class Actions because they allow for a number of Claims to be processed economically. Class action suits are most appropriate in cases where it would be too expensive for plaintiffs to press their claims individually.
The first phase of a Class Action is the Certification Stage. During this phase, Court approval is sought for the claim to proceed as a Class Action. While preparing for this phase, law firms will conduct research into the Defendant(s), research on applicable law, and will also recruit potential clients or class members. On experience, many Class Actions settle either shortly before or after Certification. Not all Actions settle in this phase however, and the claim will then proceed further. Ultimately the matter may proceed to trial.
By virtue of their complexity, both the Certification and the Litigation phases can take significant time to complete. Even after a Settlement is reached, it can take considerable time to process individual claims. All claims are processed individually by an independent Court-appointed Claims Administrator in Ontario.
There are advantages to joining a class action suit. Generally, the benefits are as follows: The plaintiffs’ resources are pooled, the class obtains strong leverage to negotiate a settlement, gathered information is available to all clients, limited expectations of involvement are placed on individual claimants, and there are reduced costs to the individual claimants.
At Higgerty Law we litigate Class Actions that address a wide variety of issues, including:
- Defective drugs and medical devices;
- Securities misrepresentations;
- Pension and retirement benefits;
- Deceptive marketing;
- Corporate fraud;
- Institutional negligence;
- Environmental class actions; and,