In a modern economy goods and services are often distributed by large, multinational corporations. Consumers and businesses have to enter into standard form contracts as a condition to obtaining goods and services but they never have the opportunity to actually negotiate the terms of the agreement. These standard form agreements are often contained in a website and never even read by the consumer or businessman. At times, a large corporation might simply ignore the terms of a consumer contract and charge fees that exceed the proper charge. Goods supplied by a large corporation might be shoddy or their qualities misrepresented. Misrepresentations might be made in advertisements. In the securities industry misrepresentations or non-disclosure of material facts may occur in prospectuses and announcements designed to tout stocks and in franchise agreements. Investment adviser fraud and investment adviser negligence or stock broker negligence sometimes occurs. In these examples the loss sustained by each individual consumer, shareholder or franchisee may not be large but the improper gain for a large corporation could be huge. A class action allows consumers and small businesses to band together, hire a highly qualified class action lawyer and prosecute an otherwise uneconomical lawsuit with no cost.
These cases involve the law of negligence and breach of contract as well as the British Columbia Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and Securities Act and the equivalent statutes across Canada.
Vancouver class action lawyer Bruce Lemer has been plaintiff counsel in several significant class actions, including the largest products liability class action in Canadian history, the 1986-1990 Hepatitis C class action. He has successfully represented plaintiffs in consumer class actions against investment advisers / stock brokers over wrongfully taken commissions foreign exchange commissions and in individual actions for stock broker negligence and investment advisor negligence in making unsuitable investments. Bruce Lemer has the specialized knowledge, experience and resources necessary to prevail over a large corporation. Learn more about him by clicking here.
The class action is a relatively new tool that alters the balance of power between plaintiffs and defendants by allowing people to band together in one single case. This makes it easier to challenge large corporate defendants. The final decision of the court will bind each of the class members, subject to each member’s right to opt out. Moreover, in most situations, individual plaintiffs involved in a class action would have never brought such a suit, since the recovery of damages would be insufficient to offset the significant legal costs.
Some examples of the type of claims that may qualify for a class action lawsuit include defective products, securities, nuisance, environment cases, false advertising and shoddy products and negligence.
One or more individuals (“representative plaintiffs”) represent the rest of the class. A class member does not have to be a named plaintiff to benefit from a successful class action. Because the rest of the class does not have a day to day say in how the class action is run the court supervises and must approve all steps in the action, including any settlement and amount of legal fees.
There are numerous advantages to initiating a class action or participating as a class member. For one, there is no cost to the plaintiff, since your Canadian class action lawyer only gets paid a percentage of the fees awarded if the case is successfully litigated.
Canadian class action lawyer Bruce Lemer has represented plaintiffs in British Columbia and Canadian class actions about breach of consumer contracts, shoddy goods and advertising misrepresentation. We cover all expenses and have the expertise and resources to take on significant cases.
April 5, 2012