Crane Dunham represents shareholders, consumers, insureds, employees and business owners in complex and class action litigation against companies, and their boards and officers, that engage in unfair, deceptive or harmful conduct in the workplace, marketplace, or environment. While the disparity in resources between an individual and a corporation may seem great, we use our experience with class action lawsuits and knowledge of securities laws, consumer protection and employment laws, to level the playing field. Our successful experience and knowledge has allowed us to successfully pursue class action suits against some of the largest corporations in the country, and in Washington.
What is a class action?
A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one or several persons sue on behalf of a larger group of persons (more than forty, but typically hundreds, thousands or more). While the subject matter of class action lawsuits can vary widely, two factors are almost always present for every class action:
- Issues in dispute are common to all members of the class, and
- The persons affected are so numerous as to make it impracticable to bring them all before the court.
- Depending upon the type of class action, resolution of the lawsuit binds all members of the class certified by the Court.
What are some examples of class action lawsuits?
Examples of class action lawsuits include claims by:
- Insureds whose insurance companies delay or deny them the benefits of their policies related to payment of medical expenses or personal property damages;
- Employees subjected to a pattern or practice of racial, age or gender discrimination by their corporate employer, or whose compensation and benefits have been wrongfully withheld or limited ;
- Condominium assocations and their members whose property has been damaged due to construction defects;
- Homeowners and residents affected by a toxic spill in their neighborhood;
- Consumers who purchased the same defective product or were harmed by unfair business practices committed by a corporation;
- Patients prescribed a medicine with undisclosed, dangerous side-effects;
- Merchants and consumers who pay inflated prices for products caused by the anti-competitive activities of large corporations; and
- Investors who are victimized by fraud or breaches of fiduciary duties committed in connection with the purchase or sale of stocks and other securities, or decisions by the board of directors and/or officers.
What are the public policy reasons supporting class action lawsuits?
Class action lawsuits are designed to advance several important public policy goals. A class action is often the sole means of enabling persons, even those with serious injuries, to remedy injustices committed by powerful, multi-million dollar corporations and institutions.
In other situations, each person within a large group may have suffered only limited damages and the cost of individual lawsuits would be far greater than the value of each claim. The total damages, however, to the class could be quite large. The wrongdoer would have the incentive to continue its fraudulent conduct but for a class action.
Finally, where the defendant has engaged in a pattern of wrongdoing, a class action can provide an effective remedy for the group without incurring the costs of thousands of separate lawsuits and risking inconsistent decisions by the courts.
Many of our cases started as the result of complaints by one or a handful of persons. If you have been harmed by a fraud, defective product, illegal conduct, or a deceptive practice, please feel free to contact us.
Specific areas of our class action expertise include:
- Consumer Protection
- Employment and Wage Claims
- Insurance claims
- Securities claims