So one of my relatives qualifies to be in a class action lawsuit where there might be some real money involved. (Not one of those things where they send you a check for $0.87.)
But this relative is fairly clueless about adulting in general and even more so with this lawsuit. They got some forms in the mail but from what I can tell this is maybe committing to a particular law firm and I think there are more than one.
So how on earth do we pick one? I’m assuming that it might matter in terms of how much settlement is awarded and what percentage they keep as a contingency fee.
I’m at a complete loss as to how to proceed. Relative wouldn’t accept help until recently but now realizes they don’t know what to do.
Has anyone been involved in a material class action suit or have any pointers?
What alternatives exist and what difference does it make? Can there be two different class action lawsuits for the same cause of action? I doubt it. Perhaps firms A, B and C are all trying to enroll clients but somehow (I suspect; IANAL) those suits will be reduced to one. If they are reduced to one, will different participants have different terms? So maybe action now just increase the chances the firm your client signs with will become “the” firm for the final case. IANAL, still, but I think your relative should ask why it matters whether he signs up now.
[All that assumes there are indeed multiple law firms. Another possibility is that it is certain what firm is handing the class action suit, and your relative is being asked if he wants to be included in the suit. Most likely he does, unless he was damaged so much more than the average participant that it might be reasonable for him to sue individually.]
I think that it’s unlikely a consumer will have the knowledge to sufficiently judge the merits of picking between different law firms. It’s like asking a consumer to judge the strength of a life insurance company.
If there’s a choice, pick the best one you can with limited information, knowing that that’s what you’re doing.
Related but not relevant, I’ve got a small claims case waiting for courts to reopen and clear their backlogs. The lawfirm that’s representing me is a class action firm who offered to represent me for free :). Who have already won class actions against the company. It’s going to be interesting, a small claims case in a small court, with two rows of big city lawyers.
I don’t think that the judge is going to care all that much about how many law firms there are representing member of the Class. As I understand such things, an award is given the to Class and subsequently divided equally among all the participants (not the legal representatives).
Legal firms then take their cut from the participants they “represent”.
As such, it seems that you look to go with the one with the lowest commission/cost from your winning. Might also consider if any firms are domiciled in your state as this would give you a better process in the event you find shenanigans taking place after settlement.
(Side note: I think you might be restricted to those firms who have at least one attorney who has been admitted to the bar of your state.)