Broadly defined, a class action lawsuit is a procedural legal device that allows one or more representative plaintiffs to file a civil claim on behalf of the members of a larger group. Class action lawsuits can be filed in a wide range of different circumstances—including product liability claims, toxic torts and environmental damage claims and consumer protections cases.
For plaintiffs, a class action lawsuit can be a powerful and effective way to pursue legal remedies. At the same time, neither federal courts nor Georgia courts will automatically certify a class action lawsuit. Certain standards must be satisfied. In this blog post, our Atlanta class action lawyer explains the most important things to know about class action certification in Georgia.
Know the Required Elements of Class Action Certification in Georgia
For the purposes of class action certification, Georgia law is similar to federal law. Under Georgia law (Georgia Code § 9-11-23), a class action lawsuit will only be certified and allowed to proceed if certain standards are met. Here are four things that are required to get a class action lawsuit certified in Georgia:
- Proposed Class Must Be Sufficiently Numerous: A class action lawsuit will only be certified by a Georgia court if there are a large number of class members. The number of class members must be large enough that it would not be practical for them to pursue individual claims.
- Class Members Must Have ‘Common’ Claims: Next, the proposed class members must actually have common claims. They must be able to establish that the relatively similar issues of facts and law apply to their case. The defense that is likely raised by the defendant must also be common to the proposed class members.
- The Representative Parties Claim Must Be ‘Typical’: All parties seeking to act as a representative class member for class action litigation must prove that their claim is typical of the class members as a whole. A party with a non-representative claim cannot lead a class action lawsuit in Georgia.
- Proposed Representative Must Protect Best Interests of Class Members: Finally, a Georgia court will only certify a class action lawsuit if the proposed representative(s) will effectively protect the best interests of all of the class members.
Getting a class action claim certified can be complicated. Defendants often try to move aggressively to stop the certification of a class action lawsuit. Our Atlanta, GA class action litigation lawyers help our clients navigate all issues related to these cases, including questions of class action certification.
Call Our Atlanta Class Action Litigation Attorney for Immediate Help With Your Case
At Wetherington Law Firm, our Atlanta class action lawyers have the professional skills and legal experience that you can rely on. If you have any specific questions about getting a class action lawsuit certified in Georgia, we can help. Contact us today for a free, fully private initial consultation. From our law office in Atlanta, our attorneys provide class action litigation throughout the entire region, including in Fulton County, Cobb County, Fulton County, and Douglas County.