A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one person (the plaintiff) brings claims on behalf of other people who are not part of the lawsuit but who suffered the same injury.
In the most basic lawsuit, one individual plaintiff sues a defendant. If two or more people suffer an injury together, they may sue a defendant together. For example, if a husband and wife own their home together and there are construction defects in their home, they may sue the builder together. In a class action, there are many people who suffered a similar harm and one person sues a defendant on behalf of all of those people. A simple example of a class action is if your water company improperly adds $10 to all of its customers’ bills one month, one person could bring a class action on behalf of all of the water company’s customers to recover the amount wrongfully billed.
Class actions are often used in construction defect cases, and they are a good way to help a large number of homeowners all suffering from similar construction problems. For example, in a condominium building, the builder may have committed the same construction mistake at each unit and all of the residents may use a class action to recover money from the builder to fix the problem. Similarly, in a neighborhood where the same builder built the homes, the homeowners may use a class action to recover from the builder.
A party has to follow a certain procedure to bring a class action lawsuit, and it is important to have a lawyer with experience handling class actions.