Mass Torts/ Class Actions FAQs

What is an intentional tort?

A tort is considered intentional when the harm caused by another person’s actions was the motivating factor. This usually applies in situations involving a criminal act. An example of an intentional tort would be a woman who was brutally attacked by an ex-boyfriend. Other types of cases that may fall under intentional tort include bullying, fraud, invasion of privacy, sexual abuse/assault and false imprisonment.

 

What is needed to prove a negligence tort?

In a civil case involving injury caused by negligence, the plaintiff (victim) must show that the other party (the defendant) acted negligently. Proving negligence requires that the plaintiff establish the defendant owed him a duty of care, breached that duty, and as a result caused the plaintiff injury. Examples of this include a car accident caused by a defendant running a red light and slamming into a car passing through the intersection; a patron slipping on fallen fruit at a supermarket and breaking her arm; and an unrestrained dog biting someone, unprovoked.

How does a class action lawsuit work?

When a class action lawsuit is filed, it is considered one case brought against a company or person with several claimants who have been injured. The injury does not have to be a physical one. Class action lawsuits have been filed against companies for excess fees, improper billing and fraudulent acts. If you choose to join a class action lawsuit, you will not be able to file a separate lawsuit against the company for the same act.

 

What is a lead plaintiff?

In a class action lawsuit, the court will appoint one of the plaintiffs to be the lead plaintiff. This person is responsible for hiring the class action lawyer; making sure the claim is filed; working with the class action lawyer to collect and present evidence, and give testimony; attend all court hearings and proceedings; and review and accept any proposed settlements. Lead plaintiffs must be able to represent the interests of all the plaintiffs involved and are usually awarded money for their involvement in the class action as the lead plaintiff, as well as the injury they incurred.

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