Posts Tagged ‘erin brockovich’

A class action lawsuit is filed on the part of a number of individuals who happen to have been in some way damaged by the activities of a company. It is common to find class action lawsuits filed by employees of the corporation if hiring or even wages procedures appear to have been illegitimate. Another variety is the class action lawsuit filed against a drug company for making illegal claims about their product, or even for resulting in fatalities or bodily damage to individuals taking the substance.

Whenever one subscribes a class action suit, one usually has to sign documents declaring that he or she then forfeits the right to claim damages to the corporation as a particular person. A good class action law suit honours damages to the plaintiffs, who are all those suing the firm, in accordance to biggest cause damage. In most all cases not all members of the litigation are entitled to equal compensation. Usually the lawyers operate on a contingency basis, which means that they are going to get a portion from the designation. On the other hand, they won’t charge their clients any fees if the suit isn’t successful. That percentage could be substantial, between 30 to 50 per cent from the total award.

Awards from a class action lawsuit are split directly into 2 amounts: punitive and compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are meant to tackle the defendants (those being sued), and direct injury. These funds are going to be used to tackle actual damages inflicted by the defendants, such as illness, loss of life, or pain and suffering. Punitive losses from the class action lawsuit are a form of penalisation for the corporation committing illegal behaviours, or inflicting damage. Punitive damages in large class action lawsuits can be particularly high, whenever it is demonstrated the corporation has demonstrated great disregard for the wellness, safety or emotional wellbeing of the victims.

Class actions may become jury trials, or perhaps may be resolved prior to a trial. A suit can be tried in directed mediation. Settlements and negotiation mean that injuries are agreed upon by the defendant/s. Jury trial class action lawsuits can create problems because a corporation levelled with heavy punitive and compensatory damages can appeal the decision. The appeal process may go on for several years, so plaintiffs might have to hold on a long time prior to seeing any money. Corporations can also declare insolvency, which means the plaintiffs may never be awarded anything.

One of the most well-known class action lawsuit is explored in the film Erin Brockovich. The film is a biopic detailing the class action suit on behalf of the residents of Hinkley, California. They sued Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for lying about using the chemical hexavalent chromium, which then seeped into the ground water and contaminated the water supply. Many residents of Hinkley then became ill with cancer, or had fertility problems. As well, animals living in the small town died quickly.

The suit’s lawyer Ed Masry was able to establish that PG&E knew about the situation and deliberately risked the lives of those living near the power plants by failing to warn the residents. Erin Brockovich, played by Julia Roberts in the film, extensively researched and documented the damages caused to Hinkley residents. Her dedication helped secure the successful verdict against PG&E. Ed Masry chose directed mediation for the class action lawsuit, meaning those severely affected by exposure to chromium were given immediate monetary relief.


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