What You Should Know About Joining a Class Action Suit

The Robbins Geller team was honored to be recognized by SCAS’s recent Top 50 Reportas the United States’ top plaintiffs’ securities law firm by total dollar value of class action recoveries. Considering that Robbins Geller competes with some of the country’s largest and best-regarded law firms in this practice area, that’s a truly impressive distinction.

But the fact that Robbins Geller has been able to consistently deliver results for its class action clients doesn’t necessarily prepare future clients to join and pursue their own suits. With that in mind, here’s a brief primer on what you should know about joining a class action suit — whether or not Robbins Geller acts as lead counsel.

What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is a large-scale legal action that formalizes a plaintiff’s initiation and pursuit of a representative lawsuit against a particular defendant or group of defendants on behalf of a larger class of plaintiffs. A class action suit is appropriate in any circumstance in which the defendant’s unlawful or tortious actions (such as the manipulation of financial statements) harmed a large group of individuals or entities in a similar fashion (such as a drop in the value of stock holdings).

Financial and Time Costs

When you join a class action lawsuit with Robbins Geller (and most other reputable law firms, for that matter), you’re not required to make any upfront payments or held to immediate account for any fees. In fact, you won’t face any substantial out-of-pocket expenses until your case is resolved favorably, either through a court-mandated recovery or settlement with the defendant. If your claim isn’t successful, you won’t be liable for any costs.

However, it’s important to note that as class action lawsuits are quite complex, they typically take years to resolve. Depending on the nature of your case, you shouldn’t expect a start-to-finish resolution shorter than two years. Very complex cases may take longer than three. That said, Robbins Geller’s experienced attorneys remain in close communication with clients throughout the process and faithfully provide status updates.

What’s Eligible for Inclusion in a Class Action Suit?

In the securities law realm, you’re eligible for inclusion in a class action suit if you owned stock during the class period, or the period during which the defendant engaged in unlawful or tortious behavior. The same principle applies to other types of class action suits as well. If your involvement with the defendant falls outside the class period, you’re generally not eligible for inclusion.

Settlements and Recoveries

A class action lawsuit can end in several ways. The most favorable outcomes for plaintiffs are settlements and recoveries — both of which Robbins Geller is second to none in obtaining. A settlement is typically reached outside of the trial process and involves the defendant’s agreement to pay the plaintiff class a set amount in damages, typically over a set period of time. A recovery, by contrast, is a court-mandated payment from the defendant to the plaintiff class. In both cases, the damages are distributed among plaintiffs on an equitable basis relative to the severity of their financial or personal injury.

You can find more information about Robbins Geller’s class action cases and procedureshere.