How to Join an Existing Class Action Lawsuit

Learn how to join an existing class action lawsuit and understand what type of settlement or judgment you may be entitled to if you join.

How to Join an Existing Class Action Lawsuit

If your legal rights are affected by a class action lawsuit, you will generally only have to participate once the case is resolved. In most cases, you'll need to file a claim, either online or by mail, to receive your part of the settlement or judgment. Information on how to do this can be found in the class notice that you will receive in the mail. The class action lawyer will file a lawsuit and explain to the judge why a class action would be beneficial.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, lawsuits for non-payment of minimum wage or overtime are treated differently than traditional Rule 23 class action lawsuits. Collective demands for voluntary participation often include complaints of illegal work practices, such as non-payment for required overtime or discrimination in the workplace. If you think you might be covered by a class action lawsuit, wait for the court to approve the notice or contact the group's lawyer for instructions on how to participate. The courts will determine if the class action lawsuit should be resolved through a trial or settlement. Some class action lawsuits only cover residents of certain states or people who suffered a particular type of physical or financial harm.

In a lawsuit for monetary damages, any member of the group who does not choose not to participate may be bound by the results of the litigation. This means that, under Rule 23, all members of the group are covered and the court will approve the agreement, except if the group member “opts out” and will, in fact, return a form stating that they do not want to participate. Usually, the notice issued to group members in the usual lawsuit for monetary damages informs group members if they need to take any action to participate. Once your class action lawsuit has been resolved, you must file a claim to receive your part of the settlement. For the judge to approve class certification, there must be so many cases against the defendant that it makes sense to initiate a class action lawsuit. A class action lawsuit will include allegations that a group of people have suffered similar harm and are also entitled to be part of the case.

Traditional “opt-out” agreements that attract media attention are included in Rule 23 of Federal Civil Procedure. You can file the class action lawsuit and act as the lead plaintiff, or you can be a member of the group with the help of an employment law lawyer from Olivier & Schreiber, LLP. If a class action lawsuit has already been filed, you may receive a class action notice in the mail stating that your legal rights could be affected by a lawsuit. All class action lawsuits usually have a notification process in which potential members of the group (also called alleged members of the group) receive a notification informing them of their rights and how to file a claim. If you are considering joining an existing class action lawsuit, it is important to understand all aspects of it before taking any steps. Contact information will be provided in the announcement or notice so that you can get more information about how to join and what your rights are as part of it.

It is also important to understand what type of settlement or judgment you may be entitled to if you join.