There Are Four Essential Things You Need in Order to Get the Class-Action Status
Video Transcribed: What is a class action lawsuit? I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth, and we’re talking about Oklahoma class-action lawsuits under Oklahoma law. A class-action lawsuit is essentially where you have many people that have the same legal grievance against the same people. In Oklahoma, there are four essential things you need in order to get the class-action status of a lawsuit.
Those are that the class is so numerous that of all members is impractical, so the class is so large that it would not be practical for each individual member of the class to file their own lawsuit. The second one is that the questions of law or fact in common to the class, so everybody you’re requesting to be as part of the class has the same legal issue or concern.
That the claims or defenses, this is the third requirement, the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims and defenses of the class. That means the person that is filing the class action lawsuit, that’s the person that’s the representative party.
They have to have the same claims and defenses as everyone else they’re requesting to be part of that class. Fourth is the representative parties – again, that’s the person that files the class action lawsuit – will fairly and adequately protect the interest of the class. Those are the four requirements in order to get the class-action status of a lawsuit, but why do we have a separate type of lawsuit for class-action status?
Primarily, it’s for where there are many people that have a legal grievance against the same defendant in a small amount, individually. If you’ve got this company that has a million clients, and each one of them has been wrong for $10 from this company, that’s a lot of money at stake, it’s $10 million at stake. On the other hand, for each individual plaintiff, it’s only $10 at stake.
Without a class action lawsuit, how is that legal wrong righted when the filing fee, even in a small claims action, is going to be $100, and then it costs $50 to have the sheriff serve it. Practically speaking, for any legal claim you have for a small amount, it’s not practical to go to court individually.
But if a lot of people are in that same exact situation, you can file as a representative party, file for class-action status, and then list all the other people that are part of that class. You’re filing suit on their behalf, as well, if the court grants you class-action status.
You’ve just got to meet those four requirements to show it’s appropriate to be a class-action, and request that the court appoint an attorney, or your attorney, to be representative for the class. Then you can get recourse, and then that recourse is spread out among the class once that’s completed.
So it’s a situation that allows a legal wrong to be righted, where the individual person is only out a small amount, but the class as a whole is out a lot, so that’s why it exists. There’s a special statute for it in Oklahoma, Title 12, Section 2023. If you’ve got additional legal questions or have a question about a class-action lawsuit, you’re going to want more specifics relevant to your circumstances. For that, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney privately, confidentially. To get that scheduled, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.