Joining a class action lawsuit

Many consumers and investors are familiar with what a notice of class action settlement looks like.  They usually come in the form of a letter or postcard, and the purpose is to give unnamed class members the information they need to decide whether to participate in a settlement or not.  In most cases, when a proposed settlement is reached in a class action, those who receive the notice of class action settlement do not have to affirmatively do anything to confirm they want to participate in the settlement.  They will, however, most likely be required to complete and submit a “claim form” to confirm they are members of the class.  For example, in a securities fraud class actin, the “claim form” may ask the investor to list the dates upon which the securities were bought, how many were bought and how much the investor paid for them.  But, if they do not want to participate in the class action settlement for any reason, they have the right to “opt out” of the case and pursue their claims on an individual basis.

Participating in a class action settlement

Unnamed class members are generally not required to take any action in the class action litigation itself until the claims settle. When a class action settles, class members who wish to participate, are usually required to submit a claim in order to receive their share of the settlement money. Claim forms may be sent to class members by mail, email or via traditional or online publication.  Once the claim forms are completed, they can be submitted to the claims administrator via email or online. All class action settlements are subject to approval by the Court, and the Court will award attorneys fees and costs to class counsel based upon what the benefits they generate for the class.

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