If you are like most Chicagoans, you get a lot of junk in your mailbox and spam in your inbox. You are also on the lookout for scammers and thieves who might try to pull a fast one on you or steal your identity. So when you get a postcard or email telling you that you may be eligible for compensation as part of a class-action lawsuit, you are right to be skeptical.
As a law firm that prosecutes class action suits in Chicago state and federal courts, Vaziri Law LLC can advise you if you have received one of these notices and want to know if it is real.
How Did They Get My Info?
Class action notices are sent to anyone whose legal rights could be affected by a pending lawsuit. This may be as low as around a hundred people or as high as hundreds of thousands of people.
During the discovery phase of the lawsuit, the lawyers working on behalf of the class of plaintiffs will try and identify everyone whose legal rights may be impacted by the case. Using a consumer fraud case as an example, they do this by obtaining sales receipts, lists of people who have registered their purchase in order to secure a warranty, and lists of customers or users.
Say, for example, that you buy a new dishwasher at Costco. You then register your purchase with the manufacturer so you can take full advantage of the warranty if necessary. A few years later, you get a notice in the mail that there is a class-action lawsuit involving everyone who purchased that particular dishwasher. You may have received the notice because Costco knows you purchased one of them and released your name as part of the litigation, or because you registered your purchase with the manufacturer.
There is nothing sinister about the fact that a bunch of lawyers now know that you purchased a dishwasher from Costco. Customer information that is obtained during litigation can only be used for the very narrow purpose of fairly resolving the dispute at hand.
I Got A Notice. What Happens Next?
Although it is normal to receive notification that your legal rights may be impacted by a pending class-action lawsuit, you should verify that such a lawsuit exists before taking any action.
You can often find information about the lawsuit in the news, or on the popular website classaction.org. The notice usually includes information where you can find more information about the lawsuit. Vaziri Law LLC can also help you determine if the notice you have received is legitimate, figure out you are a class member, and advise you on what your next steps should be.
If the notice is legit, it will include information on your rights as a potential class member. There are typically three options open to you.
First, you can decide to participate as a class member. You agree to give up your right to file your own lawsuit and accept whatever compensation is being offered as a part of the current settlement.
Second, if you object to the proposed settlement, or believe you should not be considered a member of the class, you can opt-out of the class action. You may be able to file your own lawsuit by opting out of the class-action lawsuit.
Finally, you can do nothing. The class action will proceed without you. You will be prevented from filing a similar lawsuit in the future, but do not otherwise need to concern yourself with the litigation.
Fueled by Passion. Built on Trust.
Class action lawsuits are an effective way to address the legal concerns of a large group of people at once. Their scale creates efficiency but also some confusion.
Vaziri Law LLC helps Chicagoans assess information about class actions, and take action to protect their legal rights. We also file and prosecute class action lawsuits in Chicago state and federal courts.
If you need assistance with a class action claim, please contact our office to schedule a meeting.