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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Class Action Lawsuits & Multidistrict Litigation


Sometimes people injured by the same company must band together to protect their rights. The class action attorneys at Jinks, Crow & Dickson have extensive experience and resources to guide a class action lawsuit through filing, certification, and resolution on behalf of plaintiffs and consumers throughout the country. With multiple offices and affiliated attorneys, we are prepared to serve clients from anywhere.


If you believe that you have been damaged and think you might have a claim that would result in a class-action lawsuit, take a look at these frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigation. Then, contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.


1. What is a class action lawsuit?

A class action is where a number of people with the same claims pursue their claims collectively through representatives of the class. Usually, there is class counsel, a team of lawyers who are working on behalf of all members of the class.


2. How to join class action lawsuit?

Depending on the type of class action, you may not have to join it. You might automatically be a part of it. But in practically all class actions, you cannot participate in any settlement or recovery (you can’t receive any monies) unless you file a claim. You may receive notice directly or may see a notice advertised on television or in newspapers of the need for filing a claim. There are usually deadlines associated with filing the claims. The claims must be filed before the deadline or you will probably not be able to recover any money for your injuries or damages.



3. What qualifies as a class action lawsuit?

The court determines whether a class action is justified by the facts of a particular case. Just because a claimant seeks to make a class action does not mean that the court will allow it. There are very specific rules which the courts have interpreted giving guidance as to when a class action will be allowed.



4. Where to file a class action lawsuit?

Because class actions usually involve a large number of affected individuals, they can be filed almost anywhere. But with many, they will either be filed or will end up in federal court because of the Class Action Fairness Act. There are rules which govern where a lawsuit may be filed. Those same rules apply to class actions.



5. What are some examples of the largest class action settlements?

The size of a class action can be misleading. Class actions with large settlements usually involve a large number of class members (people affected) but the amount that each individual class member may not be large. Many class actions which involve a smaller total settlement number may provide larger recoveries for the individual class members based upon the amount of their damages.



6. What is multidistrict litigation?

Multidistrict litigation is a process and procedure whereby the federal courts designate one court to handle the preliminary and pretrial matters related to a number of lawsuits pending in many different jurisdictions or states.



7. How does multidistrict litigation work?

In multidistrict litigation, the preliminary and pretrial matters for a number of different lawsuits (which may include class actions) are consolidated before one judge. The judge designates a committee of lawyers who represent some of the plaintiffs to engage in pretrial and preliminary matters on behalf of everyone who has a claim against the defendants which may be related. Once all the pretrial matters are resolved, the individual cases are supposed to return to their home jurisdiction for trials. In reality, that rarely happens. Most cases that wind up in MDLs are settled before trial or after some test cases are tried. Rarely are all the cases returned to their home jurisdictions for trial.



8. How does the MDL settlement process work?

MDL settlements take many forms. Some cases that wind up consolidated into an MDL may become a class action for settlement purposes. Their settlement is handled much like a class actions with different classes for those suffering different damages. And for some, a claims process is created as part of the settlement so that individuals can file their claims under an agreed fixed process.



9. What is a judicial panel on multidistrict litigation?

The judicial panel on multidistrict litigation is a panel made up of federal judges who designate MDLs and choose a judge to handle them. They also decide whether cases should be consolidated into an MDL or not.



10. What is the difference in a class action lawsuit and multidistrict litigation?

A class action is one lawsuit being pursued on behalf of a number of individuals who are similarly situated with the same types of damages against the same defendants. Multidistrict litigation is the consolidation of a number of separate lawsuits pending in different jurisdictions for pretrial purposes. Each consolidated case maintains its identity for trial purposes.