As a Pittsburgh class action lawyer, Jim Pietz works to enforce the consumer protection laws through the use of class actions. If you are looking for a Pittsburgh class action lawyer, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about class actions.

1. What is a class action?

A class action is where one or more individuals represent a group in bringing a court claim. Class actions allows a group of persons who have been subject to the same illegal practice or have signed the same standard form contract to bring their claims in one court proceeding.

2. Why should a case be brought as a class action?

It does not make sense that each person with the same claim must hire their own lawyer and then separately bring their own claim in court. Many lawyers may not be willing to represent persons with small consumer claims. A class action provides a way for these persons to band together so that that the costs of bringing the case are shared and so that one group of attorneys can represent the group.

A class action also provides a way to hold a business accountable for its illegal conduct. A business may be more willing to continuing violating the law if it believes that only a few consumers will go to court. However, where a business must face all persons who have been the target of their illegal conduct, that business will be held accountable and more likely to be careful about following the law.

3. What types of cases can be brought as a class action?

Common types of class actions involve cases where company has illegally provided the same product or service to a group of persons or where a company is using the same procedure or practice that is prohibited by law.

4. How does a class action work?

A class action is started when a persons brings their claim in court and then seeks to represent a group of persons with the same claim. The person who brings the case is called the “representative plaintiff”. The judge in the case will determine if the case can be handled as a class action.  This decision by the judge is called “class certification”. By granting class certification, the judge has decided that the claims of the representative and of the persons in the class are sufficiently the same so that the case can be handled on a group basis.

If the representative plaintiff is successfully in bringing his or her claim, the class will also obtain the same benefits.

5. What does it cost to bring a class action?

If you are accepted as a client, we will advance the costs of your case and seek reimbursement of costs and payment of our attorneys’ fees from the court upon successfully conclusion of your case. If you are not successful, you will not be responsible for costs or fees.

6. Can any attorney handle a class action?

Because class action law is fairly specialized, you should look for an attorney with significant class action experience.  In deciding whether to allow a case to proceed as a class action, the judge will have to decide whether the attorneys are sufficiently qualified and experienced in handling class actions. Additionally, because there are many different types of class actions, look for a lawyer who has specific experience in the type of class action you may be considering.