Class action lawsuits are a powerful tool for consumer defense, allowing a small group of people to file a lawsuit on behalf of all those in a similar situation. These lawsuits have resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars for plaintiffs, either through a settlement or a jury verdict. In this article, we'll explore five examples of class action lawsuits that have improved people's lives and even transformed the nation. A common example of a class action case is pharmaceutical fraud that results in the manufacture and distribution of a harmful drug used by many patients.
Other examples include massive disasters, such as negligence in social work or nursing homes, human rights violations, sexual abuse, and sports litigation.
In 1979, a group of veterans filed a class action lawsuit against the five manufacturers of Agent Orange. This was not a traditional class action lawsuit due to the involvement of prosecutors, but the settlement resolved the tobacco industry's long-standing class litigation liability. The most significant class action lawsuit in history is the tobacco agreements mentioned above.
This case changed the way companies protect customer data and resulted in billions of dollars in settlements and verdicts. Another notable example is the BP oil spill in 2010. The Government took criminal and civil actions against BP, and a class action lawsuit was also filed involving 100,000 lawsuits filed by fishermen, property owners and others who alleged that they had been harmed by the oil spill. Class action lawsuits have been successfully used to obtain compensation for serious injuries and damages suffered by millions of Americans. Even before parties reach an agreement, these lawsuits can change the way companies protect customer data.
The true power of class action goes far beyond correcting specific customer mistakes. It's important to note that class action settlement amounts are a variable objective until payments are made, long after parties reach an agreement. Many other multi-million dollar settlements, such as those granted to victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, are not included because they were obtained outside of a class-action lawsuit process.