Complex Cases, Outstanding Results
Class action lawsuits are a major area of practice for our personal injury law firm, Miskin Law. A class action is a type of lawsuit brought on by a group of people or businesses against an entity or entities that have been harmed in the same way. It is done through a representative claimant who is the named plaintiff in the class action. Because the complainants’ claims have more weight and credibility when examined collectively, and the same witnesses and authorities will be relevant in each case, it is an efficient and cost-effective means of suing the defendant as a group, versus individually.
A class action arms plaintiffs with more bargaining power, and encourages the Defendant to settle, knowing they will not face individual claims at a later date for the same reason. In Ontario, once a class action is filed, everyone who has a similar claim becomes a member of the class by default, and is subject to the findings in the class action lawsuit unless they choose to opt-out of the class action so they can file their own claim.
Settlements & Payouts
Most class action claims settle, and all settlements must be approved by the court and found to be in the best interests of the members of the class who are claiming. Individual class members may give input to the court when a settlement is proposed. This may include opposing the settlement, especially if they would not benefit from it or if they believe the compensation is not adequate.
Once a settlement is approved by the court, people who are entitled then file claims which are assessed by a claims administrator in accordance with the settlement agreement. Once all claims are assessed it can be determined how much any person will receive as compensation. It may still take a long time from settlement to payment, as many of our clients have experienced with the Vioxx case which settled with an agreement in January 2012, court approval given in September 2012, and claims were assessed almost to the end of 2015. Payment of those claims was in 2016.
The idea behind a class action lawsuit is that when more people are harmed than can reasonably be gathered to file suit individually, they are brought together to form a “class” of people collectively.
Examples of Class Actions
Well-Known Class Action Suits Handled by Miskin Law
Class actions our firm has successfully filed include Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex. These claims have settled. Our current active class actions are:
Asbestos & Class Actions
Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of the deadly cancer mesothelioma and some other cancer types. Many companies using the deadly mineral knew the risks associated with exposure to asbestos, but decided not to inform their employees of the dangers. Defendants in past asbestos class actions included shipbuilders, construction and mining companies, and manufacturers and distributors of products that contained asbestos.
Asbestos Victims Have Options
Class actions began to spring up across the US in the 1960s, when the dangers of asbestos exposure became common knowledge. There were also a great number of individual claims in the US against asbestos product manufacturers and employers. Unfortunately, there are no asbestos class actions in Canada. Canadian asbestos victims are generally prohibited from suing because of restrictions in Workers Compensation legislation. However, Canadians may be entitled to compensation through Workers Compensation or Veterans Affairs. Alternatively, they can go through the asbestos trust funds set up when the asbestos companies being sued went bankrupt.
How Miskin Law Can Help
As a Canada lawyer experienced in class action lawsuits, especially with prescription medications, and also claims related to mesothelioma, lung cancer and other ailments stemming from asbestos exposure, Murray Miskin can determine the best course of action in your situation to collect the damages to which you are entitled. We work with existing class actions, and have initiated our own, sometimes partnering with other class action lawyers.
As a general policy, we represent individuals making singular claims where that is the best route for maximizing compensation for the respective client. We always advise our class action clients of their right to opt-out of the class action, and we explain their choice giving specific individual advice.
When a class action settles, we work hard to document our clients claim to maximize their right to compensation within the class action. We charge a percentage as a contingency-fee from class action clients, so those who end up with no compensation do not get billed or have to pay for our expenses on their behalf.
Contact Miskin Law today for a free consultation to see where you or your loved one stands with regard to collecting monetary relief for your losses, pain and suffering.