Facebook Pixel
logo

800-perkins

203-397-1283

Get to know the power of Perkins!

What is the Difference Between Mass Tort and Class Action Lawsuits?

class actionIn discussions of lawsuits that affect larger numbers of people, the terms mass tort and class action get thrown around a lot. However, for the average person, the distinction can be confusing. In fact, many may be under the impression that the two types of legal cases are one in the same. While the two share many similarities, they are two separate types of large cases.

To understand the difference between the two, it can be helpful to first understand their similarities. Both cases affect a large number of plaintiffs that are alleging they have suffered damages of some type. Additionally, both involve the same common defendant or defendants that caused the damages. Also, in both, the lawsuit has been consolidated rather than multiple people filing lawsuits due to suffering the same or similar damages by the same entity.

But what makes the two different? The key factor that differentiates one from the other is how the group of plaintiffs is treated and what legal criteria has been met, or not met.

Mass Torts

In a mass tort, there is often injuries to a particular group of people that usually live in the same geographic vicinity. Most often, this is a smaller group compared to a class action, such as a neighborhood compared to a long list of customers for a corporation. In a mass tort, the group may be moving forward together, but each plaintiff is treated as an individual. This means each plaintiff must establish their own case using their own facts, including their own unique experience and how they have individually been damaged.

Most often, a mass tort happens when a group decides to pull their legal resources together because they have been victimized by the same defendant, during the same incident. Despite the factors being the same, each person is filing their own lawsuit and not one lawsuit together.

Class Action

In a class action lawsuit, there are no individuals. Instead, the lawsuit proceeds as one very large plaintiff against the defendant. In a class action lawsuit, one representative goes to court and it is tried one time. In some cases, there are too many individual factors or uncommon circumstances despite it being one defendant, which is why mass tort can be the best action. Further, individuals may decide to go after their own lawsuit because they are signing away the right to pursue legal action on their own by joining the class action group.

Typically, a class action is created when the class is so large that naming and joining each person would be impractical, laws and facts are common among the members, and a class representative can adequately represent the interests of the class with the furthering of their own interests benefiting the class. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we represent class action lawsuits with the interests of all plaintiffs in mind. Contact us today to learn more.


Class Action or Group Lawsuits in a Small Claims Court

legal hammerIn a small claims court, class action lawsuits technically do not exist. However, there is a group lawsuit that can be created and operates similarly to a class action lawsuit. In these cases, a large number of people have the same grievance and will sue the same defendant at the same time. This has been discovered by communities and advocacy groups when it comes to issues such as regular noise complaints and drug sales in a community among other claims.

Group lawsuits were first “invented,” so to speak, back in the 1980’s in San Francisco when homeowners won more than 100 small claims court judgments against the City for excessive noise. The group worked together with their resources to get expert witnesses, conduct research, paid for training workshops, and pulled together for legal advice as needed. The group banded together to create a coordinated effort, leading to over 100 successful cases.

The City tried to fight off the claims by saying this was a class action lawsuit, which is not permitted in a small claims court. However, a California court of appeals ruled, “numerous ‘mass’ actions against the City alleging that noise from the City airport constituted a continuing nuisance were neither too ‘complex’ nor had such ‘broad social policy import’ that they were outside the jurisdiction of Small Claims Court…” (City and County of San Francisco v. Small Claims Div., San Mateo Co., 190 Cal.Rptr. 340 (1983).)

This led to a new approach to small claims for communities. Since the judgment, communities have been successful in shutting down drug houses, suing landlords that rent to drug-selling tenants, and other community claims that have had a positive effect on areas. In these cases, each individual will sue for the maximum amount. Since these smaller court claims can add up quickly, issues that previously dragged on for months or years were resolved much quicker. These suits can be successful if the following is true:

  • It brings credibility and weight to a neighborhood problem that would have otherwise clogged up the higher courts. It should also bring the neighborhood together and bring together better resources.
  • Selecting a small committee can make coordination much easier and lead to success. A large group can only be successful if there are clear leaders that are committed to fulfilling their place in the larger group. This committee should be in charge of finding expert witnesses, legal advice, and other information and training sessions.

Losing defendants will still have the right to a new trial on appeal, unlike in many class action lawsuits. However, class action lawsuits have their place, as well. If you are an individual that is part of a larger group in a lawsuit that extends beyond the jurisdiction of small claims court, contact our team at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers today.


Fairfield Veteran’s Case May Upgrade Thousands of Army Discharges

In April 2017, a Connecticut veterans’ leader filed a federal class action lawsuit following a less than honorable discharge based on behaviors that were later attributed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on behalf of himself and other veterans nationwide. The lead plaintiff is a decorated Army veteran and founded the state chapter of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

The lawsuit alleges the Army isn’t following a policy put in place by the Pentagon that helps veterans upgrade their discharge status when their behaviors stemmed from PTSD. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport. The lawsuit aims to have the court order to have the Army abide by the laws in place and formally apply the policy.

The policy in question was issued by former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Hagel’s policy outlines how the military review board should give consideration to veterans who are later diagnosed with PTSD when considering upgrading their discharge status. A second plaintiff has also been named.

The lawsuit has the potential to change the statuses for veterans who have been discharged under General Under Honorable and Other Than Honorable discharge status and includes veterans who have been discharged since April 2002. The lawsuit could affect thousands of veterans.

Benefits of Upgraded Status

An upgraded status could mean a lot for the affected veterans. In some cases, a general discharge being upgraded could mean those who have gone through therapy and wish to return to the Army could be re-entered. Even further, they could become eligible for benefits under the federal G.I. bill and receive other perks such as scholarships offered by veteran groups that only offer such scholarships to those with honorable discharges.

Federal and state veterans’ benefits such as health care and disability benefits could also become a much-needed possibility for these veterans, along with state property tax exemptions, which many are unable to get at this time. The plaintiff hopes to get the needed upgrade to his own and the statuses of other veterans in hopes to create a better future for himself and other veterans.

If you were diagnosed with PTSD, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers today to find out more.


Can I Seek Damages When a Product Doesn’t Have Proper Warnings or Instructions?

If you have been injured because of a product you used, you may be entitled to compensation. There are three categories that claims fall into where compensation may be available to the victim of the product: defectively manufactured, defectively designed, and failure to warn about proper use or the potential for harm.

Even products that have been created well and have no flaws in their design can cause harm when the consumer is not properly informed.

Duty of Care

When this happens, you may be entitled to compensation. Companies have a duty of care to let consumers know how to properly use their products and must warn how misuse can lead to injury. For instance, if a hair remover may cause burns if left on too long, the consumer must be properly warned about the risk. Failing to do so can put the company on the hook for damages that result from leaving the product on.

In these cases, the danger must be overt. In the case of the hair remover, a consumer may assume the product is safe since it is being used on the skin. If the company knows risks increase the longer a product stays on the body, they are required to give instructions on how to avoid the burns, along with information on how to handle a situation where the product begins to burn the skin.

Misuse of Product

While you may seek damages when the product does not have proper warnings, your case may be dismissed if you misused the product. In these cases, a product was used for something other than its intended use and the instructions were clear. For instance, a manufacturer is not liable if a consumer uses an outdoor grill indoors when it is marketed clearly for outdoor use.

Manufacturers should be able to warn against foreseeable misuse, but when there is adequate warning of misuse, they cannot be held liable. They also cannot be held accountable for not warning of unforeseeable uses. For instance, it is not reasonable for a microwave company to be expected to warn consumers not to microwave a laptop, but they should be able to foresee warning them against microwaving a plastic bowl.

If you feel your injury is due to the negligence of a manufacturer, contact our Connecticut defect product lawyer at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.


Advantages and Disadvantages of a Class-Action Lawsuit

Class-Action LawsuitA class-action lawsuit can have great benefits for those who aren’t even aware they have been affected by the poor intentions of a big company. However, there are also times when someone is better off opting out of a class-action lawsuit. When it comes to protecting your own rights, there are many considerations to make before signing any documents.

The Advantages

The most common advantages are related to the monetary savings and ability to have better legal counsel. Specifically, the advantages include:

  • Judicial efficiency. One judge will settle the entire case, meaning litigation will take up less of the courtroom’s time and involve fewer judges. This can make for easier and less complicated judgements.
  • Opportunity for small amounts of money. If you have only been somewhat affected, you can still be compensated when you would have otherwise let it go.
  • Lower costs. With costs divided amongst all members of the suit, less comes out of each person’s award.
  • Getting everyone on the same page and having a clear and concise defense can lead to better outcomes. This also helps legal cases by ensuring no one is left wondering how to proceed in their judgement based on someone else’s case.

The Disadvantages

With all good things comes the downside. A few of the disadvantages to joining a class-action lawsuit include:

  • Less control. These types of cases are representative in nature, meaning some of those affected most by the judgement don’t have as much of a voice. Plaintiffs may find a case will go in a direction they wouldn’t prefer.
  • Cases almost always settle for financial compensation. When a plaintiff is looking for compensation that extends beyond finances and rebates, it may not be the best choice.
  • If the case is unsuccessful, or the litigator doesn’t argue effectively on their behalf, they no longer have the right to bring an individual lawsuit later.

If you are unsure whether joining a class action case is the right choice for you, consult a Connecticut class action lawyer, today! At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we have handled thousands of class-action suits and can clarify whether the class action suit addresses your legal needs.


Hidden Costs of a Class Action Lawsuit

Class Action Lawsuits In Connecticut From Jonathan Perkins Have you ever received a notice in the mail notifying you that may be eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit?  Class action lawsuits are a special type of lawsuit that combines the claims of a number of different people who have been harmed by the same defendant in the same way. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of the group rather than each of the individuals having to file what is essentially the same lawsuit, providing the same evidence, and going through the same proceedings. Class action lawsuits are designed to be more efficient than individual lawsuits: all of those who join the case are bound to the decisions made on behalf of the group, and those who do not wish to be part of the class action are able to opt out and pursue claims on their own.  There are a lot of benefits to participating in this way: those who have been harmed by a product do not have to appear in court, and many people end up getting the benefit of an award that they might not have thought to pursue on their own. But there are also hidden costs of a class action lawsuit that may mean that it is not in your best interests to join. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we believe that it is our job to provide our clients with the best legal counsel that we can provide so that they can make decisions that work for them. If you are considering joining a class action lawsuit for an injury that you’ve suffered, here are some things that are worth considering.

Though class action lawsuits provide the advantage of lower litigation costs out of pocket and less cumulative court time, there are distinct disadvantages too. One is the lack of control over any decisions that are being made for the group. Though class action lawsuits provide the opportunity for all plaintiffs to receive damages, they also mean that you can’t have your own say on whether you think that a deal that is being offered is good or not – or if you do get to vote, your vote is one among many, and has less power.

Another disadvantage is that class action lawsuits do not always provide compensation that is useful for you. Though most people would prefer to be paid in cash, there are many times that a defendant’s settlement will come in the form of a discount of credit to purchase something that the plaintiff would not have chosen to buy: in one notable case against Ford Motor Company, plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit each received $500 coupons towards the purchase of a new vehicle – this is something that very few ended up taking advantage of.

Making the decision as to whether to join a class action lawsuit is often a question of how significant the damages that you personally suffered are. This should be weighed carefully. For help understanding all of the legal issues and ramifications of your decision, contact the experienced attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today.

 


Who is Responsible for Legal Fees in a Class Action Lawsuit?

 When you are injured by the acts of a person or entity and the injury was a result of their negligence, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for the damages that you’ve suffered. But when you are one of many people who have suffered the same or similar injuries as a result of the same person or entity, you may be able to join in what is known as a class action lawsuit.  A class action lawsuit puts together the claims of a group. Sometimes these types of suits are filed because there are so many people who have suffered the same injury that it is simply easier for the courts to address a single case where all of the facts are roughly the same then it is to hear each case individually.  Class actions also provide individual plaintiffs who have suffered damages with a way to gain better leverage against big companies that have extensive resources. Some people who are considering joining a class action lawsuit are hesitant because they are afraid that they are not sure who is responsible for legal fees in a class action lawsuit, but that’s not the way things work. The attorneys who represent the case are paid out of the money that the defendant is required to pay in damages.

In a class action lawsuit, the award, whether settlement or jury award – is referred to as a “common fund”. The fees that the attorneys get for winning this money must be approved by the court, but it is usually a simple calculation of a percentage of the award.  The court will make the decision as to whether the award is reasonable or not, but one way or another the person who has suffered the injury never has to pay their attorney out of their pocket. There have been instances when attorneys representing a class action have been accused of earning an unreasonable amount of money for their representation, but this is often simply a matter of the total common fund being so large, or of the award or damages that the case succeeds in achieving is for a nontangible benefit rather than a cash benefit that can be divided between the different participants in the class action.

The members of class action lawsuits have several benefits over plaintiffs who file individual lawsuits. They generally only need to sign off on papers and then do not have to appear in court, or even provide testimony. Unfortunately, they also generally do not get the same kind of awards or settlements that result from individual suits. If you would like to speak to an experienced attorney about your involvement in a class action lawsuit, contact the firm of Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today.


How are Awards from Class Action Suits Allocated?

A class action lawsuit is a specific type of lawsuit in which all of the people who claim to have been harmed as a result of the defendants’ actions are grouped together and represented by a small group of people or a single member of the group. The different individual parties that are represented in the suit do not need to be present in the courtroom: instead, all of the wrongs that have been suffered by each of the individuals is presented in one court case, thus avoiding having to proceed through numerous court actions and present the same evidence of the same wrongdoing over and over again. Notification of the lawsuit is generally sent out to the various members who have been harmed by the defendant’s actions, and they are given the opportunity to either join the suit or opt out so that they can pursue litigation on their own. Though they may be able to get a larger amount of compensation by filing a claim of their own, doing so will be time consuming, and can be costly. If you have been invited to join this type of lawsuit, you may wonder how awards from class action suits are allocated. The attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are happy to explain.

Class action lawsuits have different settlement structures. These include:

  • Money being distributed automatically to all class members who do not opt out, without them having to fill out any claims forms
  • Money being distributed automatically to all class members who do not opt out and who did fill out claims forms showing that they are entitled to compensation
  • Fixed payment settlements where a specific amount is distributed from a fund to all class members who do not opt out. This may or may not require that a form is filled out, and any money that is left over is returned to the defendant
  • Coupons or discounts are offered to all class members for them to use against future purchases of the defendant’s products
  • Funds are given to a nonprofit organization instead of to class members
  • Relief is provided in a nonmonetary way, such as changing the offending business practices

There are advantages and disadvantages to being involved in a class action lawsuit. The advantages include that the cost of pursuing the lawsuit is lower because it is split between all of the members. It is also a good way to get compensated when the injury that you suffered is relatively inconsequential and would not lead to a large enough amount of money to pursue a lawsuit on your own. It is also a more efficient way for a lot of people to pursue the same wrongdoing at once. The biggest disadvantage of a class action lawsuit is that you lose control of the decisions that are made. If you would like to discuss whether you should participate in a class action lawsuit or whether it would make more sense to file a claim on your own, contact the personal injury attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today to set up a convenient time to discuss your case.

DON’T TAKE IT FROM US, TAKE IT FROM OUR CLIENTS

  • “You guys were the best thank you again”

    - Bonnie Channey

  • “Thank you so much all the staff at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. I personally want to say thank you to my case manager Carmen Baldwin, she is very thorough and...”

    - Katherine Vadnais

  • “This is the third Attorneys office I have gone to. They were the ONLY through group... My Attorney stood up for me in court and I was Happy that I...”

    - Candi Edwards

  • “I was with another lawyer and he was not getting the job done. No doctors for me to see. When I changed over to Perkins, I had a doctor within...”

    - Jan Vasquez

  • “Their hospitality is amazing from start to finish. I will always contact them when i need a service that they provide. This is my second time calling them in a...”

    - Crystal Moore

  • “Made a negative experience {auto accident} positive. Result was much better than I expected. No problems or hassle with insurance and always kept informed.”

    - Patrick M Taylor

  • “Beautiful new office located in downtown Waterbury. Call for information on free off street parking. If your injured, Get the Power of Perkins.”

    - Kevin Banahan

  • “One word.....RESULTS! I was in a very bad auto accident on the Merritt Pky April 3, 2016 (CT) that nearly took my life and sustained major painful injuries and had...”

    - Eve M.

  • “They made everything so easy! I never felt out of the loop and they always kept me informed as to how my case was moving along. Very pleased with their...”

    - Chy Archer

  • “Smartest and friendliest! They will fight for you!”

    - Nicole Ilana

  • “They are so helpful and always called me right back. They were very effective!”

    - Pamela Smith

  • “Was involved in a car accident 3 years ago. From start to finish Jonathan Perkins and firm were always there for us throughout the entire process. From check in calls...”

    - Gabriel

  • “Get the Power of Perkins when your injured.”

    - Kevin Banahan

  • “Great lawyers they did their job better that anyone soo recomended”

    - Nancy Arana

  • “Carmen always kept me posted on my case evwry two weeks she was an awesome case worker”

    - Tammy S.

  • “Very professional people... Always available for you if you have any questions; which was never for me because the office is very good with keeping you informed on what's going...”

    - Shemeka Council

  • “I cant say enough about this firm! Professional, organized and just an overall great experience! The entire team was very knowledgeable not only about the law and state requirements but...”

    - Tamara Rivera

  • “U did an awsome job i was able to buy my first home and im very happy”

    - Deborah

  • “I retained Johnathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to represent me on a Social Security Disability Claim; and, their team worked very diligently on my case. During the evaluation period there was...”

    - Marybeth Clifford

  • “I had a beautiful experience with Jonathan Perkins Law firm. Carmen was a very nice and efficient paralegal. She kept me in the loop and always showed concern with my...”

    - Les T.

  • “Friendly people. Was going through a hard time, but they continued working for what I needed no matter what.”

    - Christina Amon

  • “It was a wonderful experience being a client. The staff was friendly and informative. Definitely would recommend Jonathan Perkins to my friends.”

    - Inger Kierce

  • “I was extremely satisfied with Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. My overall experience was excellent. I recommend them.”

    - Mark G.

  • “Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers did a good job and I am very satisfied. The service was excellent and if the need arose I would hire them again.”

    - Luis N

  • “I want to congratulate Attorney Perkins for having a wonderful team working for his clients. Kevin Blake did a wonderful job with my workers’ compensation case. Shawn, my case manager,...”

    - Arthur Z

  • “Vivian was awesome. We have never been through this process before and she made it easy. Thank you.”

    - Elizabeth

  • “Thank you so much for advocating and fighting for my husband. Through all of your diligence, he was able to get justice. We are very grateful. God bless!”

    - S. Howard

  • “Excellent law firm. Morgan Alicea, my case manager, was truly excellent and very precise. So happy I listened to your advertisements and sought your help”

    - Helen

  • “Thank you Jonathan for coming in person to our home to meet us back in July 2014. It was appreciated and good to get to know you.”

    - Coralie

  • “Thank You!! Best decision I ever made! Was considering calling someone else but I’m so happy with your staff. I feel secure in knowing that my case is in good...”

    - Calvin

  • “I would like to thank the whole staff for being very concerned about my well-being. Thank you sincerely from the heart!”

    - Beverly

  • “My father was killed when his car was hit by a tractor trailer truck that was traveling too fast. We first retained a law firm that didn’t seem to be...”

    - Nelda

  • “I enjoyed being a customer of Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. I was updated every two weeks about my case and I found it extremely helpful to know what was going...”

    - Cora

  • “Both my sons were in a car accident. Of all the people that we talked to, we found that Jonathan was best for us”

    - Carl

  • “I slipped and fell in a store, crushing my left shoulder. I felt as though no one was listening until I called Jonathan Perkins”

    - Barbara

  • “My doctor made me believe that I was in better shape than I really was. This led to complications during the birth of my daughter. With Attorney Jonathan Perkins, I...”

    - Erika

  • “I fell down in a business premises and a metal plate landed on me, injuring me. I know that my case is being handled efficiently because I have an investigator,...”

    - Jeffre

  • “I enjoyed working with my case manager and my attorney. They went above and beyond — I can’t say enough about them. I would refer them to anybody, in fact...”

    - Charles

  • “The staff is caring and concerned and my experience with Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers has been pleasant”

    - Joan R

  • “Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers is very professional, courteous and personable, and they go the extra mile to assist their clients. When I walked in the door I spoke to a...”

    - Jackie

  • “Initially I called another firm and I was told that I didn’t have a case. I am very thankful that Jonathan Perkins Injury lawyers took my case and settled it....”

    - Paulette

  • “I enjoyed being a customer of Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. I was updated every two weeks about my case and I found it extremely helpful to know what was going...”

    - Cora

  • “Excellent service and I will be in contact with you for future services”

    - Freddy Ramirez

  • “In the past I’ve had some pretty negative dealings with lawyers which had left me feeling that lawyers were all unscrupulous, taking advantage of their client’s stressful state. Jonathan Perkins...”

    - Rosina

  • “I like the way my case has been handled. They took care of my needs and questions. Thank you”

    - Georgianna Heslop

  • “Thank you all for helping me with my case.”

    - Madalyn Bernhardt

  • “Great representation. Good communication and detailed information about the case. Professional and knowledgeable representation”

    - Estephanie

  • “Very attentive to your case, works out every little detail, will not blow you off or ignore you, I was using a different lawyer prior, but switched and am SO...”

    - Amanda Bernardo

  • “I just want to say thank you for the help and direction that Atty Kevin Blake and cast worker Renita Lathrop. I have never been so pleased with the work...”

    - Amie Aquino

  • “Rent is was my paralegal and she really made my situation less of a stress factor in my life! The office was so helpful with explaining everything in away I...”

    - Ricardo Montanez

  • “My mother hurt her back at work and Jonathan Perkins helped keep her on her feet! Especially Renita who went the extra mile to make sure my mom had everything...”

    - Jasmine Riveria

  • “It was a Pleasure working with Our Case worker Renita. Very helpful and responsible!”

    - Ruth Noemi Rivera

  • “We were very happy with the care that was taken of a workman's comp case for my husband. W knew from the start that we did not have the knowledge...”

    - Maureen

  • “It has been my pleasure working with Shawn von brieson and attorney mcarthy, Shawn has always been extremely attentive to any and all of my phone calls e-mails etc. and...”

    - Bruce Vaughan

  • “Great law firm! They have been amazing. Shawn Von Briesen is personally one of the best case managers ever! This guy has definitely helped me out as well for the...”

    - Chris Rodriguez