Sorry, I don’t speak Legalese: Class Action

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A class action is when a large group of affected people form a collective claim over a common legal issue. A class action is also sometimes called group litigation.  

The class action will form one single claim of representative action against a defendant, person, or organisation for alleged wrongdoing. 

Types of class action 

Some types of class action include: 

 Consumer fraud through the sale of defective products or fraudulent misrepresentation where something does not do what it says on the tin 

Environmental issues. For example, the Teflon class action against chemical giants DuPont 

Cases involving privacy of consumer information online. Some examples include the 2013 Target data Breach and most recently, a case worked on by PGMBM, the British Airways data breach 

 Medical devices or pharmaceutical products. Companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson have been involved in class action lawsuits over their medicinal products 

 Employment issues. For example, the Uber case where employees have not been treated fairly. 

Benefits 

Class actions are ways of getting justice for the masses. 

 It is a game of strength in numbers as it makes the average person’s voice heard as a collective against large corporations who should hold the welfare of their customers or employees as a matter of priority.  

Unfortunately, in an increasingly commercial world, this is not always the case. Many people are misled into purchasing a product that does something completely different to what we are told initially. 

Timing 

In a class action, large corporations tend to prefer to settle rather than take the matter to court. If there is clear evidence of potential wrongdoing, there may be no need to take it to trial.  

Car manufacturers Hyundai and Kia agreed to pay $100m (£62m) in fines and forfeit $200m in credits for misleading customers about the fuel economy of more than a million cars sold in the US.[1] This meant that it would be more cost effective for them to resolve the issue outside of court through the means of a settlement.  

This, however, does not always mean it is resolved quickly.  

Some class actions can take from six to twelve months, others may take a few years to resolve. This may come down to the strength of the case and the conduct of the defendant as the claim progresses. 

Examples at PGMBM 

As mentioned above, PGMBM has been involved in high-profile class actions against some of the world’s commercial giants across several sectors.  

From the British Airways data breach to the Mercedes and Volkswagen diesel emissions claims, we have a breadth of expertise on these types of litigations and will continue to serve people who fall victim to these corporations. 

One of the Environmental disasters PGMBM are representing in Brazil has triggered one of the biggest legal claims ever filed in a British court.[2]  

An appellate judge indicated on the 22nd of June 2021 that the court would revive a £5billion ($6.9billion) lawsuit brought on behalf of more than 200,000 Brazilians against mining giant BHP over a deadly dam failure. 

This is a prime example of how the lawyers at PGMBM go above and beyond to serve justice to those who need it most.  

[1]https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/03/hyundai-and-kia-fined-100m-for-misleading-customers-on-fuel-economy 

[2] https://pgmbm.com/our-cases/environment/samarco/ 

Author: James Kempell, Paralegal

PGMBM (a trading name of Excello Law Limited) – SRA License Number 512898

Excello Law is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and complies with the Solicitors Code of Conduct, a copy of which can be located here.

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