When a manufacturer is unable (or secretly chooses not) to honor the warranties that came with the products they sold, it is not uncommon to discover that there are hundreds to thousands of other consumers dealing with the same issues that you are. Filing a lemon law class action lawsuit is often the best option for suing the responsible parties (manufacturers, dealer’s, repair facilities, etc.) when there are simply too many other similarly suffering consumers (the "class") to pursue individual lawsuits.
Hundreds or Thousands of People Might Have Claims Just Like Yours!
If you suspect that you're not the only one dealing with the same or similar issues, don’t hesitate to call us now at 888-536-6628 or fill out our Free Lemon Law Case Review for a no obligation review of your case. We’ll discuss your individual and class action options and should representing a class action make the most sense, you can rest assured that our firm has the experience, resources, and tenacity necessary to navigate and pursue the complexity of a class action lemon law claim.
What Is A Class Action?
When a consumer discovers that they have a lemon law claim, there may be hundreds to millions of other consumers throughout the country dealing with the exact same issue. Filing each claim individually would expensive, time-consuming, and burdensome on the court, which in turn could result in inconsistent decisions. For powerful multi-million to billion dollar manufacturers and dealers, business is a numbers’ game, and without lemon law class action lawsuits, there would be little financial incentive for these companies to honor their warranty obligations. Class actions lawsuits make it possible for consumers to band together with an experienced law firm to level the playing field and hold these businesses accountable for their actions.
Determining Whether a Lemon Law Class Action Lawsuit Can Be Pursued
Not every breach of warranty claim is appropriate for a class action lawsuit. For a lemon law claim to qualify as a class action case, the court must determine that a class action is the best option to manage multiple lemon law claims. A breach of warranty class action case may be certified only after the following requirements have been met:
- Numerosity - There must be so many consumers with similar lemon law claims (typically 40 or more consumers) that it’s more practical to join all the cases together than to pursue each lawsuit individually.
- Commonality – Each breach of warranty claim needs to have an issue (of law or fact) in common, and similar in nature, to every consumer in the class. While the issues do not need to be identical, the underlying issue must be similar as to affect all members of the class.
- Typicality – Each claim or defense in the class representative’s lemon law complaint must be typical of the claims or defenses to every other member in the class.
- Adequacy of Representation – Finally, both the class representative and the class action attorneys need to show that they will fairly and adequately protect the interests of each individual member represented by the class. Generally, adequacy of representation requires that:
- Class Representative(s) exhibit enough integrity and credibility to convince the court that there is no conflict of interest themselves and the other members of the class, and that they will vigorously perform the fiduciary duties needed to represent the class through their attorneys.
- Class Counsel is qualified, experienced, and competent to conduct lemon law litigation, without and conflicts of interest that might impair the representation of the class.
Lemon Law Subclasses
If there are multiple causes of action where some members of the class have separate interests of the entire class, but similar to a smaller group within the class, a subclass may be established with each subclass represented by its own class representative.
Lemon Law Class Representatives / Lead Plaintiffs
Rather than having every consumer present their individual lemon law case, Class Representatives, or “Lead Plaintiffs” are selected to be the spokesperson for the entire class. Depending on the claims, there may be more than one lead plaintiff in a lemon law class action lawsuit.
Lead plaintiffs has several responsibilities and benefits beyond those of other class members, including:
- Hiring the Class Action Attorney and Filing the Lawsuit - Although the lead plaintiff hires the class action attorney, there is no financial responsibility or risk for filing the lawsuit as class action cases are taken on contingency, meaning that the attorney fees and costs are determined and awarded by the court providing the attorney wins the case.
- Providing Evidence, Depositions, and Testimony on the Case – While Lead Plaintiffs are responsible to perform the fiduciary duties required to represent all class members including providing evidence, depositions, and testimony, this does not usually require a more involvement than an individual lemon law case would require.
- Agreeing to the Terms of Any Settlement – Unlike the other class members, one of the benefits of being a lead plaintiff is that they are the only class member with the power to approve or reject a settlement offer based on what they feel is fair and just. Being a Lead Plaintiff requires that settlement considerations represent the interests of the entire class, and not just the Lead Plaintiff’s own interests.
- Additional Compensation – For bringing forth a case on behalf of other consumers similarly damaged, the court (and only the court) has the discretion to award lead plaintiffs a larger share of any settlement, depending on their personal injuries and level of participation in the case.
Examples of Class Action Cases
Examples of the kinds of cases that might be suitable for class certification include:
- Defective Products that are unsafe, cannot be fixed within a reasonable number of attempts, are not what they were advertised as, or cannot be used as implied.
- Design Flaws such as defective airbags, faulty ignitions, electronics that catch fire, washing machines that accumulate excessive mold and mildew, etc.
- Concealed Defects such as software that conceals excessive emissions, defective airbags, and engines that burn excessive amounts of oil.
- Secret Warranties where manufacturers have knowledge of a defect, but only make repairs to consumers who complain loud enough (often as good will, service campaigns, or a policy adjustment), tricking most consumers into paying for repairs that should be covered.
- Void if Seal Removed Stickers or other tie-in clauses where specific parts or service centers are required, otherwise warranties are invalidated.
- Unavailable Parts within seven years after the date of manufacture for electronics and appliances that cost $100 dollars or more, or within three years of manufacture for electronics and appliances that cost between $50 to $100 dollars.
- Whistleblowers who expose life-threatening defects in the auto industry.
Class Action Mailers
Once a breach of warranty class action lawsuit has started, the attorneys working on the case will request documents and testimony from the defendant(s) to identify all potential members, and then send class action notices to them by email, regular mail, or general media, notifying them of the lawsuit and asking about their desire to participate. Potential class members can then either decide to stay in the lawsuit or opt out of it. Staying a member of the class action means that the consumer will eligible for any compensation awarded but will forfeit their right to pursue an individual claim. While lemon law class members may have similar issues, many will have different experiences making opting-in better for some and opting out better for others.
Do I Have to Participate in a Class Action Lawsuit?
You are never required to opt-in to a class action notice, but you will need to read the notice carefully to determine what options are available to you. Keep in mind that the class action lawsuit will proceed regardless of whether you choose to be part of it, and often an action is required within a certain amount of time. By missing the deadlines in the notice or by taking no action at all, you may forfeit your rights altogether.
Opting out of a Lemon Law Class Action
Depending on your individual situation, you may qualify for considerably more compensation than a typical class member would get. For example, if you had a vehicle with a defective part, the class settlement may include repairing or replacing the part. If the part never failed on you, then being a member of the class would probably make much more sense than pursuing an individual claim. If, however, you have dealt with the issue personally, one of your remedies might be to demand the manufacturer replace or repurchase your vehicle. In this case, it would make considerably more sense to opt out of the class lawsuit and pursue your lemon law claim individually.
If you received a class action opt-in notice for a breach of warranty or lemon law claim, don’t hesitate to call us now for a free, no obligation case review at 888-536-6628 or fill out our fast and easy Free Lemon Law Case Review Form. We’ll let you know what your options are, including the benefits or disadvantages of becoming a member of the class action notice you received.
Why Choose Us
Lemon law cases require the experience and intelligence to know how something was designed, and how it should work. As important, properly pursuing a lemon law claim requires a firm that regularly litigates and thoroughly knows the law as the manufactures and their attorneys are aware which attorneys only send letters, which are inexperienced, and which are a force to be wary of. While we strive to settle our client's claims outside of court as quickly as possible, we will not hesitate to file and prosecute a case in court if a just and timely settlement is not offered. Our firm has a success rate of over 99% and aggressively and professionally pursues getting every client the highest possible recovery possible.
Class action cases require significant resources, and the attorneys involved must fully understand the rules and detailed requirements that apply to every aspect of the case. For lemon law class actions, due to the large amounts of information, thousands to tens of thousands of pages documents, staff working on discovery and outreach, and experts pulling the case together, attorneys and firms with little or no legal experience will most likely be outmatched and overwhelmed by the legal, organizational, and financial requirements of a class action lawsuit, and the deep pockets of manufacturers with dozens of attorneys on retainer. While choosing a lemon law litigation firm is extremely important, choosing one that has experience and means to pursue a class action lawsuit properly is essential. We understand the law, and we fight to win! Get back the money you deserve and stop manufacturers and dealers from taking advantage of others right now.
If you are in doubt or think you might have a claim that should either be converted into a class action or that warrants opting out of a class that you recently heard about, call us now at 888-536-6628 or fill out our Case Review Form. We’ll carefully review your case and take the time to fully explain the options available to you. Best of all, there is no cost or obligation; we look forward to talking with you!