What is a class action?
A class action is a special form of lawsuit in which one plaintiff brings a claim against one or more defendants based on allegations which are common to a group, or class, of people. In order for the action to become a class action, it must proceed through a stage known as “certification”.
Who brings a class action lawsuit forward?
A statement of claim is issued on behalf of a “representative plaintiff”. The representative plaintiff’s role is to work with class counsels to bring the action forward and to represent the class members in court.
What is certification?
In order for an action to proceed on behalf of the entire class, a judge must decide (among other things) whether the members of the proposed class have common issues, and whether a class action is the preferred way to resolve the issues. The process to decide these issues is known as the “certification motion”. If the judge is satisfied that the case meets all of the requirements for certification, he or she will issue an order which certifies the action as a class action.
Do I have to do anything to “join” the lawsuit?
No. If the lawsuit is certified, and you are included in the class as defined, you are automatically included in the lawsuit.
Once I am part of the class do I have to do anything?
No. We will work primarily with the class representative.
What if I do not want to be included in the lawsuit?
Those who do not wish to remain in the class will be given the option to opt-out by sending an opt-out form at the appropriate time to us.
What are the benefits of proceeding as a class action?
Certification as a class action will enable us to prove the facts in a single lawsuit rather than in numerous individual lawsuits. This has obvious benefits to the class members and to the courts.
How long does it take for a class action to be resolved?
There is no timeframe. We will move the case forward diligently but it can take a considerable period of time to reach trial.
Can this action be settled without going to trial?
Many class actions settle and thereby remove the need for a trial. However, we cannot predict with any certainty whether or not there will be a settlement in a given action.
What are the chances of winning the action?
The chances of “winning” can never be accurately predicted.
How is the lawsuit being funded?
Class action lawsuits are typically brought on a contingency basis. This means that the lawyers will only be paid if the action is successful or results in a settlement in favour of the plaintiffs.
However, disbursements (i.e. out-of-pocket expenses) are typically funded by the class members, including the class representative. The class representative assists us in obtaining funds for the disbursement from class members. Ultimately, if the class action is successful, all amounts advanced for disbursements will be re-paid from the proceeds of any judgment or settlement to class members (and others).
Will I be liable for costs of the action if it is unsuccessful?
Only the class representative may be liable for costs of the common issues portion of the action if it is unsuccessful.
When can I expect to receive a payout from this class action?
A “payout” or an award for damages is never certain.
The action may settle or it may proceed to trial, at which time a judge will determine the amount of damages, if any, to which the class members are entitled to. Regardless, the amount of “payout” cannot be predicted, and we cannot predict when the action may settle or when the trial will conclude.
Must I continue to abide by the franchise agreement while the lawsuit is pending?
Yes. In franchise class actions, unless advised otherwise all franchisees must continue to abide by the requirements in their franchise agreements while the dispute is being litigated.
How will counsel keep me updated on the progress of the case?
If the lawsuit is certified as a class action, you will receive a formal notice from the court explaining the nature of the case and providing you with the opportunity to opt out if you wish.
General information about the lawsuit will be posted on Sotos LLP’s website at http://www.sotosllp.com.
Where can I send any documents that I have that may be relevant to a class action?
Please contact us if you have any documents that you believe may be relevant to a class action.