Why should I act as a class representative? What is the benefit to acting as a class representative? One of the benefits of acting as a class representative is being able to change the behavior of a big company.  If successful, you could single-handedly win a large sum of money for thousands of other individuals.  To a lesser extent, you might consider that courts have the discretion to award incentive payments (beyond the amount of damages) to class representatives.  So it is entirely possible that you will receive some compensation for your effort.

Have you filed a class action against Dish Network, LLC? As of December 19, 2010, we were still in the process of investigating claims of Missouri customers.  Some of these customers allege that Dish Network automatically withdrew funds from their accounts without authorization.  Others allege that Dish Network failed to provide bargained-for services, or charged excessive or illegal cancellation fees.

What type of person makes a good class representative? A person who wants to make a difference in the community is someone who makes a good class representative.  Acting on behalf of a class does not require a degree from Yale or personal wealth.  Our representatives typically feel that it is important to stand up for some injustice in the community.  And by taking a stand, these people often have the ability to improve their communities.

I am an attorney who wants to handle a class action. Where can I get more information? For secondary sources, you should consider consulting Newberg on Class Actions.  If money is no object, you may also want purchase that treatise.  You should also consider purchasing The Class Action Playbook, by Brian Anderson and Andrew Trask.  At a cost of approximately $160, and a page count of 308, it provides a manageable reference source.  In addition the American Bar Association (ABA) provides its members with state-specific surveys of law that are updated annually. 

What should I do if I receive a notice in the mail? You should first carefully read the notice.  You may have a limited amount of time to respond.  If the notice relates to a class action settlement, you often have at least three options.  First, you can elect to to participate in the settlement.  Often, that does not require any action on your part; but, sometimes, you are required to return a form within a certain period of time.  Second, if you feel the settlement is unfair, you can object to the proposed settlement.  Finally, in circumstances, you can move to intervene in the class action.  If you receive a class action notice, or notice of proposed settlement, you might want to contact our office to discuss.

Where can I get more information about class action lawsuits? For secondary sources, you should might want to consult Newberg on Class Actions.  If money is no object, you may also want purchase that treatise.  You should also consider purchasing The Class Action Playbook, by Brian Anderson and Andrew Trask.  At a cost of approximately $160, and a page count of 308, it provides a manageable reference source.  In addition the American Bar Association (ABA) provides its members with state-specific surveys of law that are updated annually. 

Will you review my case for free? Yes.  Sometimes we can evaluate a case quickly via phone or email.  It is sometimes possible to identify a good case within a few minutes.  We will never charge a fee for an initial consultation.  In addition, when handling class actions, our fees are always contingent in nature.  This means that we will take a fee only if there is a judgment in our favor, or a settlement involving something that can be quantified in monetary terms.  Even if your case sounds far-fetched or the amount of money at stake sounds small, please don't feel silly sending an email or making a phone call to our office. 

How much money will I recover if I participate in a class action? Ideally, if you act as a class representative, you will receive all of the money that you lost, plus additional money.  The additional money may take the form of punitive damages, statutory damages, and/or an incentive payment.  The incentive payment is sometimes awarded by a Judge for work that you will perform on behalf of all the class members.  This work might include responding to written discovery, having telephone conversations with your attorney, and possibly testifying at a hearing.

What will I need to do if I agree to act as a class representative? I.e., how much work will be involved? This work might include responding to written discovery, having telephone conversations with your attorney, and possibly testifying at a hearing.  Since you are acting on behalf of a group of people who are probably not going to do any work, we will routinely ask that the Judge award you with an incentive payment.  This payment is made if we win your case, or reach a settlement.  It is entirely at the discretion of the Judge.  It is also possible that you will not perform any work.  We have had cases where defendants paid settlements before the class representative did any work other than provide us with documents.

How do I know whether my case would make a good class action? Usually, there are two considerations.  First, the problem that you experienced must have been one that many other people experienced.  Second, the person or company that is liable for your damages must be a person or company that either has assets or insurance coverage.

What is the length of a typical class action? I.e., how long will it last? This can range from less than one month to more than five years.  With the possibility of multiple appeals, voluminous document production, certification and de-certification hearings, and potentially a jury trial, class action lawsuits can take an extraordinary amount of time.  Often, defendants will have an incentive to settle early.  And in those situations, the proposed class representative will have the option of trying to negotiate an early settlement.

Will I get rich if I file a class action? It is unlikely that you will receive enough money to suddenly become rich.  Ideally, you will receive the money that you lost (or the amount of your actual damages) plus a few thousand dollars.

How many individuals do you need to file a class action? Typically, we only need one individual to act on behalf of a class.  This answer is equally applicable even when the number of potential class members amounts to hundreds of thousands.  Class action litigation is considered representative litigation as opposed to group litigation.

What should I do if I receive unsolicited (unwanted) goods or merchandise in the mail, or through some other means? Many unscrupulous companies will send unsolicited merchandise or goods to consumers and later send the consumer a bill for the merchandise or goods.  This is a fairly common problem and carries a fairly easy remedy in Missouri.  Missouri Revised Statutes Section 407.200 (2011) reads: "Where unsolicited merchandise is delivered to a person for whom it is intended, such person has a right to refuse to accept delivery of this merchandise or he may deem it to be a gift and use it or dispose of it in any manner without any obligation to the sender."  If you receive any unwanted or unsolicited merchandise (i.e., merchandise that you did not order or request), and you have questions regarding whether you can invoke the 407.200, please don't hesitate to contact our office.