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Resources

It May Be Better to “Opt Out” of a Class Action Lawsuit

Many class action price-fixing cases result in court approved settlements that pay the class attorneys handsomely but return only a small amount of the damages to the injured class members. In fact, many class members don’t bother filing claims against the settlement fund, resulting in unclaimed funds going back to defendants. Moreover, very few class members opt out of the class, meaning they are bound by the outcome of the class action and are bound to pay a large portion of their awards to class counsel.

So how does a class member improve their positions? Depending upon the size of the potential claim, the answer may be to opt out of the class and go it alone. If your claim is big enough, there are quality plaintiff’s firms willing to review the claims of potential opt out plaintiffs and represent you on a contingent fee basis (no fee, unless there is a recovery), while footing the bill for litigation expenses along the way. The total fee for an-opt out class member is negotiated and is usually less than that awarded to class counsel. Opting out also presents opportunities to achieve a settlement that brings higher value. As an example, it may be easier for defendants to give trade credits that increase the purchasing power of an opt-out plaintiff by a dollar amount greater than available cash. Opt out plaintiffs are also often awarded their damages before the class members as the payment of the award does not await court administration of all of the class claims.

Below is a list of products subject to pending price-fixing litigation. This is only a partial list of current, pending price-fixing cases, so there may be others as well. If you are a large direct purchaser of these products, we can introduce you to competent plaintiff’s counsel willing to screen your claim for possible individual representation.

Chocolate Candies

Blood Reagents and Plasma Therapies

Eggs and Egg Products

Containerboard

Potatoes

U.S. Manufactured Steel

Aftermarket Automobile Parts

What do you have to do to opt out? Usually, just file an opt-out notice and file a separate lawsuit within the noticed opt out period following class settlement.

If you’d like to know more, contact Bill Bethune at 703-934-1193.

Disclaimer: This firm only offers legal advice to clients, and the facts of a particular situation usually drive the legal advice we give to clients. This message is not intended to be legal advice appropriate for all situations.