How to Start a Class Action: 5 Simple Steps
(1) Prepare you story
Get your facts straight. It’s usually helpful to organize your thoughts by writing them down in chronological order.
I bought _____. Then _____ happened. The company refused to _____. I lost $______ because of this.
(2) Identify Common Issues
In order to start a class action lawsuit, you need to identify something that ties your claim to other people’s. It’s not possible to start a class action just because a lot of people don’t like a particular company. You need a common thread. Check online for complaints about the exact same issue by other customers. Check with friends to see if they had a similar experience. Check product reviews to see if anyone who left a bad review experienced the same problem.
(3) Figure out what type of law applies to your claim
There are many different areas of law. Employment law governs class actions by employees or independent contractors against the company they work for. Securities law applies to class actions concerning bad investments or failing to disclose information to shareholders. And false advertising and consumer protection laws apply to claims by consumers about deceptive or unfair practices.
The type of law is important for the next step and for knowing which claims to bring.
(4) Find a class action lawyer who specializes in the area of law you’re interested in
Not every class action law firm does every type of law. Although our firm does employment, securities, and false advertising cases, some law firms only represent employees or only represent consumers.
(5) File your lawsuit
It only takes one person to file a class action lawsuit. A single plaintiff can represent a class of individuals with similar circumstances in the lawsuit. It’s not necessary to go find every person who was harmed. That’s the whole point of a class action: the efficiency gained from having one person able to represent all the others.
What can prevent you from starting a class action?
Unfortunately, companies are increasingly making consumers or workers sign arbitration clauses, which may waive your right to participate in a class action. Not all arbitration clauses are ironclad, so a clever class action lawyer can sometimes overcome this obstacle. But you may want to speak to an experienced attorney if you’re thinking about initiating a class action lawsuit.