With the announcement of the class action lawsuit against DraftKings and Fan Duel announced last week and the the impending doom of Volkswagen at the hands of numerous impending class actions sneaking into the headlines, it is appropriate to break down exactly what the heck everyone is talking about when we refer to class actions. Hopefully after reading this brief post you can impress your friends at the next cocktail party or at the very least know what to do when you get a notice in the mail.
The Basics on Class Actions
We have all received the notice in the mail informing us that we are part of a “Class Action.” Further, thanks in large part to John Grisham, we have all heard stories about shady and wealthy lawyers who file “Class Action Lawsuits.” Hiding somewhere in between is the truth and the following is a breakdown of what a class action is, and some common class action cases.
A class action is a lawsuit by one or a few plaintiffs on behalf of a large group that has been similarly mistreated by a defendant. Through a class action, it becomes economical to bring a suit that otherwise could not be brought. Where a defendant has improperly obtained a small sum of money from a large number of people, a class action allows a method by which all of the people may receive their money back.
Essentially, it would make no sense for hundreds, or even thousands of people to pursue individual actions across the Country. Litigation, even for small sums of money, is expensive, and class actions allow for the prosecution of actions in a manner that is efficient and fair. The perfect example is a defective dishwasher part. All the damages are the same, so the cost of the repair and the replacement part are the same for everybody. All people with the same defective part can be represented by one plaintiff and one attorney. Contrast this with the Syngenta Corn Litigation that is pending across the country. In this case, the damages of each individual farmer are different and a class action would be inappropriate.
In such cases, there is no fee if there is no recovery. If there is a recovery, the court determines the amount of the attorney’s fee and orders that it be paid from the recovery or as an additional payment by the defendant. Further, the plaintiffs who serve as class representatives may be awarded a class representative’s fee as determined by the court. The class representatives also receive the same money and other relief that all of the members of the class receive.
Types of Class Actions Pursued in Illinois
Examples of class action litigation include the following:
Shareholders’ Actions – class actions by shareholders of corporations in regard to losses suffered by shareholders as a result of corporate malfeasance seeking damages for loss in stock value and seeking orders directing the corporation to adopt measures to minimize losses in the future.
Motor Vehicle Insurance – class actions against various insurance carriers concerning such conduct as the companies’ specification of non-original equipment body parts in repairing their insureds’ vehicles and the failure to pay for the diminished value of their insureds’ vehicles after repair.
Telephone Service Provider Practices – class actions against various telephone service providers concerning conduct such as “cramming” (improperly billing customers for services that have not been ordered), unrequested in line wire maintenance programs, “slamming” (unauthorized changing of long distance service providers) and “bait and switch” (deceptive offers to obtain new customers). These actions are now prevalent with cell phone providers.
Health Insurance Co-Pay Litigation – class actions against certain health insurance carriers concerning deceptive and improper practices involving, among other things, the calculation of their insureds’ co-payment obligations. Several of these cases have been completed resulting in millions of dollars in refunds to consumers.
Force Placed Insurance Litigation – class actions against lenders concerning deceptive practices in the placement of collateral protection insurance (property insurance). Several cases have been concluded resulting in millions of dollars in refunds.
Motor Vehicles – the firm is presently involved in the litigation against Ford Motor Company concerning the design of the Explorer Sport Utility and against Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone in regard to the tires used on the Explorer.
Truck Bed-liners – the firm was lead counsel in litigation compelling truck bed-liner manufacturers to give warnings and fund an educational campaign concerning the dangers of static electricity causing a fire when flammable liquids are handled under certain circumstances in a truck equipped with a bed-liner.
Insurance Practices – class actions against insurance carriers concerning sales, underwriting, reinsurance and advertising practices.
Improper Billing Practices – involving the intentional adding on of false or improper charges or overcharging for goods or services.
Cruise Line Litigation – class actions against large cruise lines alleging deceptive practices in the course of billing of passengers for “port charges.”
Deceptive Sales Practices – class actions against various businesses alleging deceptive trade practices in regard to the sale of such products as gasoline and pharmaceuticals.
Collection Practices – class actions against lenders and collection agencies concerning improper collection activities including violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
This is not an exhaustive list by an stretch of the imagination, and if you keep your eyes out, you may find that you are part of one. If you receive a class action notice, or think that you may have uncovered a class action, contact an attorney with experience in the manner.
Finally, remember that the next major class action is waiting to be discovered, so always be on the lookout!
If you have any ideas, or just want to comment, feel free to get a hold of us with the form below.
A Settlement has been Reached, if You have not Joined the Settlement it May be too Late.
In November 2014, Stryker agreed to settle several thousand claims related to both devices for$1.43 billion. But the amount is not capped, and attorneys expect the final payout to exceed this amount. This settlement encompasses cases in the New Jersey MCL and the Minnesota MDL. Depending on the nature of the injuries, plaintiffs could receive as much as $600,000 each.
What does this mean for residents of Illinois? It means that you need to hurry and consult a qualifies Stryker Hip Attorney as soon as possible to preserve your right to participate in the settlement. There are strict deadlines associated with these settlements and failure to act could mean that you are left out. While the deadline to file was March 2, 2015, it is still worth contacting an attorney is you have not yet done so.
Stryker withdrew its Rejuvenate and ABG II devices in July 2012 after warning surgeons they could harm tissue around the hip and cause other health problems. The company said yesterday that it set aside more than $1.4 billion to cover costs of handling cases over the recalled hips so the settlement fell into the “low end of the range of probable loss.”
Unlike other device makers, Stryker settled before facing a trial over claims their hips suffered from design flaws and the company failed to warn patients about the devices’ risks.
If you have any questions about the Settlement please feel free to contact us.
USA Today estimates one in seven drivers in Illinois is uninsured. (Check out the link, it’s a pretty cool map.) If you are involved in an auto accident in Illinois and the at-fault driver has no insurance, all hope is not lost. You still have options. Illinois law requires uninsured motorist coverage, or UM coverage. (625 ILCS 5/7-203). Because Illinois requires uninsured motorist coverage, the driver will be held accountable just as if he or she had minimum coverage. Currently, the minimum uninsured motorist coverage in Illinois is $20,000 per injured person (up to $40,000 per accident) and $15,000 for property damage.
Furthermore while many drivers may have insurance, it is not always enough. If your claim is greater than the liability coverage of the at-fault driver, you could potentially recover the difference through an under-insured motorist claim. These policies also apply to auto accident cases involving pedestrians and bike riders.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you should contact an experienced attorney. Phebus & Koester, LLP has handled many personal injury cases and focuses on residents of Champaign County and throughout Central Illinois.
In Illinois, Country Roads hide danger beneath the beauty.
Living in Illinois, particularly central Illinois, offers a great opportunity to spend some time driving down country carol roads. Despite the beauty country roads are one of the most dangerous places to drive–especially during planing and harvesting. It is important to understand that country roads are often used for significant farming activity and accordingly, keep these tips in mind to be 100% safe at any time of year.
- When the corner or an intersection is surrounded by tall corn, it is of difficult for cars or farm implements to see around intersections. For this reason, always slowly approach every country road intersection and keep on the lookout.
- No matter whether or not there is a stop sign at the intersection, fight the urge to drive through rural intersection without stopping first.
- High rates of speed stick always slow reaction time and can be incredibly dangerous. On country roads, speed becomes even more deadly. Always maintain a reasonable (and legal) speed in the country–as good as it feels to cruise through the corn fields.
- Finally, make sure that you’re able to communicate your location in the case of an accident. This means not only having a cell phone, but know where you are in relation to the nearest emergency care provider.
Follow these tips and go for a drive on Illinois’ beautiful rural roads.
If you are injured in an accident in rural Illinois be sure to contact an attorney that has experience in these types of cases.
Nursing Home Medication Errors
Nowadays, placing a loved one into a nursing home requires much research into the facility’s complaint and citation history. NBC 5 Chicago reports that a multitude of residents in Illinois nursing homes suffer from negligence every day.
Whether or not to properly satisfy a resident’s correct medicine dosage can be the difference between life and death. Since 2011, state health inspectors have reported 384 medication errors in nursing homes. According to the Illinois Department of Health, two residents of nursing homes recently died after medication errors and another resident’s untreated infection led to amputation.
Illinois has a current 9% facility citation rate for medication errors. The state’s goal is to bring this down to 5%. In order to avoid these fatal mistakes, health inspectors continue to monitor nursing home training standards and operating procedures. According to the Health Care Council of Illinois, there are more than 85,000 nursing home residents in the state of Illinois who take around 10 prescription medicines per day.
Nursing home medication errors can result in large fines and penalties. In severe cases, nursing homes can even be shut down or lose certification.
The President of the Health Care Association, John Vrba, says that continued education for nurses and limited interruptions during medication passes should help reduce these medication errors.
A USA TODAY investigation reveals that there are thousands of physicians nationwide that have committed malpractice, yet continue to commit more malpractice. This is all despite the fact that the large insurance and medical lobbies have worked hard to convince the public that medical malpractice actions drive up healthcare costs and impact medical care.
Hundreds of hospitals and other medical facilities have barred these physicians after giving up millions of dollars to compensate their malpractice claims. Shocking research shows that from 2001 to 2006, about 6,000 physicians were restricted from these hospitals and medical institutions for patient misconduct. Of these doctors, 52 percent never experienced a license restriction, suspension or revocation by state medical boards.
Many of these doctors who are charged with malpractice will settle claims immediately without admitting fault in order to avoid a long and expensive litigation. This also ensures that they keep their practicing license.
It is also concerning that at the start of 2011, 47 percent of national hospitals had never reported restricting or revoking a physician’s license. This percentage appears too great to be true the study shows.
Although the state medical boards reassure the public that they take their job very seriously, there have been concerns regarding their authority since 1986. It is important that the state medical boards start to pay closer attention to these severe cases of medical malpractice and act on them immediately to ensure public safety.
If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of a doctor, please contact an experienced local attorney immediately to protect your rights or fill out the form below.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued a proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The announcement, which was introduced a few months ago, follows the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ release of its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimates that three million workers were injured on the job in 2012.
“Three million injuries are three million too many,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA.” These are strong goals for the new system of protections.
Public comment for the proposed rule making ended in February of 2014, however the results are not yet released. On Jan. 9, 2014, OSHA will held a public meeting on the proposed rule in Washington, D.C. A Federal Register entry followed.
The proposed rule was developed following a series of meetings in 2010 to help OSHA gather information about electronic submission of establishment-specific injury and illness data. OSHA is proposing to amend its current record keeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are already required to keep under existing standards, Part 1904. It is vital for employers to faithfully account for and report injuries in the workplace so that future injuries can be avoided. However, in an environment where profits come before people, companies are pressured to internalize many results.
OSHA is also proposing that establishments with 20 or more employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates, be required to submit electronically only their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year. Currently, many such firms report this information to OSHA under OSHA’s Data Initiative. While these regulations could put more of a stress on smaller business that currently exist, the overall good of increased reporting and data is tremendous.
OSHA plans to eventually post the data online. Timely, establishment-specific injury and illness data will help OSHA target its compliance assistance and enforcement resources more effectively by identifying workplaces where workers are at greater risk, and enable employers to compare their injury rates with others in the same industry. Furthermore those employees that are victims of workplace injury can research to see if their employer has had similar issues to see is risks still exist.
Additional information on the proposed rule can be found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=24002 and http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/proposed_data_form.html. All workers should speak up and be heard to protect their rights and safety.
If you are injured in the workplace or exposed to toxic substances in Illinois or beyond please contact an experienced attorney.
Earlier this year Forbes magazine published a very informative article about 10 things that most people don’t know about medical malpractice. In this blog there’s been an ongoing conversation about the impact of negligence on the part of doctors and how this negligence can be prevented by the civil justice system. I’ve included a link to the Forbes article, however I would like to discuss more in depth three of the 10 things you don’t know about medical malpractice in Illinois.
First, there is no such thing as a frivolous medical malpractice suit. Lobbyists and special interest groups normally controlled by the American Medical Association and other groups with only profits in mind, have often spoken about frivolous medical malpractice suits. This is simply not the case. Especially in Illinois since in Illinois every single lawsuit claiming medical negligence or medical malpractice must be certified by another doctor. What this means is that every case filed in front of any court and Illinois has already been determined to be based on medical malpractice.
Second, medical malpractice is a leading cause of death in Illinois and across the nation. Often known as doctor error, medical malpractice is deadly and must be prevented. One way to prevent medical malpractice and subsequent death, is to have a robust civil justice system prepared to provide recourse for these injuries. In Illinois such a system exists, however every day lobbyists and special interest groups attempt to erode the power of patients to seek recourse for doctor error.
Finally, residents of Illinois should understand that they do have significant power to prevent themselves from being victims of medical malpractice. Before any surgery or medical procedure do as much research as possible about the risks and benefits associated with the type of surgery performed. The Internet has a multitude of resources that can be very helpful in this regard such as Mayo Clinic and other resources. Also be sure to ask your doctor any questions and tell your doctor about any concerns you may have with the procedure. Often times you can be your biggest advocate in preventing medical malpractice.
If you are the victim of medical malpractice is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney preferably from the same area where you live or where the conduct of negligence occurred. This means that if you live and Central Illinois it is wise to contact the Central Illinois medical malpractice attorney rather than one from an other area such as Chicago. Local medical malpractice attorneys have far more resources available to assess the potential negligence and have more contacts in the community to help get the compensation you deserve. As always please feel free to contact an Illinois Plaintiffs attorney by following the link or from the contact form below.
Serious adverse event led to litigation surrounding injuries from the da Vinci Robot.
The da Vinci Surgical System is providing surgeons with a newer, faster surgical procedure in many U.S. hospitals. The system has been in use since the year 2000 when it gained FDA approval. The system was approved for urologic surgical procedures, general laparoscopic surgical procedures, gynecologic laparoscopic surgical procedures, general non-cardiovascular thoracoscopic surgical procedures and thoracoscopically assisted cardiotomy procedures. The da Vinci was billed by its marketers as a revolution in surgery due o the potenteial to use the system in a minimally invasive manner. Unfortunately, insufficient operator training and unsafe design caused tragedy for some: punctured organs, surgical burns, torn blood vessels and other surgical complications have caused suffering, lengthy recovery periods, and even death. While Intuitive surgical, the manufacturer of the system, provides some training to the doctors using the da Vinci, this training is often time not sufficient, and is sometime performed online.
Since 2009, the number of surgeries reported to be using the da Vinci system has increased by more than 50%. At the same time, the number of adverse event reports about these surgeries reported to the FDA jumped from 24 in 2009 to at least 115 in 2012, and informal incident reports sent to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) since 2009 include reports of 70 deaths.
The FDA is investigating the reports of da Vinci surgery complications, and surveying hospitals and surgeons about their use of the device. The investigation also addresses training that the surgeons have received on the da Vinci Surgical System. As recent as the summer of 2013 in the prominent Journal for healthcare quality, many doctors and the FDA criticize Intuitive.
If you have had surgical complications about da Vinci Robot surgeries, it s vital to retain experienced medical device liability attorneys. Many law firms throughout Illinois handle these complicated cases and it is vital to choose the correct one. Be sure that you ask about the attorney’s experience and fee structure.
You may be entitled to file a da Vinci robot lawsuit to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.