About Class Actions

Every year, large corporations violate the legal rights of millions of consumers and employees across the United States. At the Law Office of Paul K. Joseph, we specialize in protecting the rights of consumers and employees through class actions, which allow individuals to efficiently and effectively confront and stop illegal business practices.

What is a class action?

A class action is a special type of lawsuit that allows large groups of people who have suffered similar legal injuries to join together and have their claims efficiently resolved in a single lawsuit. In a class action, an individual (the “named plaintiff” or “class representative”) files a claim on behalf of a larger group of people (the “class”) who have suffered similar harms. This enables all claims to be efficiently resolved in a single case rather than thousands of separate cases. In short, a class action allows large groups of people with similar injuries to fight together.

Why are class actions important?

When many people have been harmed by a company, a class action lawsuit may be the only practical way for all victims to obtain justice. As one former United States Supreme Court Justice stated, “The class action is one of the few legal remedies the small claimant has against those who command the status quo.” For example, a corporation may obtain millions of dollars in illegal profits by defrauding a large number of customers or employees out of a few dollars each. In that situation, each individual’s loss would be too small to justify individual litigation. Thus, without class actions, the corporation would have a strong financial incentive to continue its illegal conduct without risk of being held liable.

Class actions were created to prevent situations like this. Class actions allow large groups of people with claims that are too small in value to warrant individual lawsuits to economically bring their claims in a single action. In fact, class actions are often be the only practical way to stop illegal practices and recover ill-gotten profits. Therefore, class action lawsuits play a crucial role in enabling individuals to hold even the most powerful corporations accountable.

How are class actions started?

Class actions are brought to protect a large group of people who have had their legal rights violated by the same illegal conduct or practice. Even though class actions often help thousands or even millions of people, it only takes one individual from that group to stand up to the wrongful conduct and file a legal claim. That person, called the “named plaintiff,” can be an important catalyst for change.

If a company has unfairly or unlawfully deprived you of money, you may have a claim that can be litigated as a class action.

What are the responsibilities and benefits of serving as a named plaintiff?

A named plaintiff plays a special role in class actions, but it is not usually a complex or particularly burdensome task. Like a plaintiff in an individual suit, a named plaintiff will provide key facts about how the violation occurred, review documents, and be updated on developments in the case.

In addition, because the other class members are “absent” from the court proceedings, a named plaintiff has a special duty to make decisions that are in the best interest of absent class members. While this may sound daunting, it is not normally complex. Rather, the process is designed so that, with the assistance of their attorney, almost anyone can serve as a named plaintiff.

If the class action is resolved in favor of the class, a named plaintiff may receive an “incentive award,” generally ranging from several hundred to many thousands of dollars. This incentive award is considered special compensation for initiating the lawsuit that ultimately benefited the entire class and for the extra time and effort spent on the case. Although these awards are routinely sought and awarded, they are not guaranteed and must be approved by the court.

Our Consumer Protection Practice

Defending consumers from corporate fraud

To maximize profits and increase sales, corporations often take advantage of consumers through fraudulent and unfair business practices. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission reported that an estimated 25.6 million Americans are victims of consumer fraud each year. These schemes take many forms including misrepresenting the price, quality, or benefits of a product or service, bait and switch tactics, and breaching warranties.

These practices can result in millions of dollars in illegal profits for companies while consumers suffer the brunt of the loss. While consumer protection laws make such conduct illegal, the injury suffered by each individual consumer—economic or otherwise—is often too small to justify individual litigation. Fortunately, through class action litigation, consumers can employ economies of scale to confront corporate wrongdoing, obtain a remedy for all those who were harmed, and stop the illegal business practice.

At the Law Office of Paul K. Joseph, we are committed to helping consumers fight against unfair, fraudulent, and otherwise unlawful business practices. We investigate and prosecute cases involving unfair business practices, including:

  • false or misleading advertising;
  • unfair business practices;
  • breach of warranty;
  • misbranded or adulterated products;
  • fraudulent business practices;
  • products or services that are faulty, dangerous, or defective; and
  • bait and switch tactics.

If you or someone you know was a victim of a deceptive or unfair business practice contact our office for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced attorney and learn how we can help protect your rights. Our office litigates on a contingent fee basis, so you do not pay attorney fees or court costs unless there is a recovery.

Our Employment Law Practice

Protecting employees’ rights

Every year, throughout the United States, millions of men and women are underpaid and deprived of their rightful wages in violation of state and federal laws. For example, an employer may have an illegal policy that workers cannot receive overtime pay unless they were granted written permission before the work was performed or refuse to pay for time spent on certain work-related activities (e.g., work performed before clocking in or after clocking out, checking e-mails at home, or attending after-hours meetings). Whether intentional or because the employer doesn’t understand the law, the result is the same: dedicated employees are deprived of wages that they are entitled to by law.

At the Law Office of Paul K. Joseph, we work to safeguard the rights of employees in California and throughout the United States in wage-related cases. Whether you were denied overtime pay, forced to pay for work-related expenses, or otherwise underpaid, our office can help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled. Our office operates on a contingent fee basis, so you do not pay attorney fees or court costs unless there is a recovery. Call now to speak directly to an attorney or fill out our case evaluation form.