Most class action lawsuits take between two to three years to settle, but some can drag out for even longer. One reason settling a class action takes so long is the many complexities, challenges, and intricate processes involved in this type of case.
Here, our class action attorneys shed light on why these cases take so long to settle and the strategies defendants use to delay settlements.
What Is So Unique About Class Action Lawsuits?
Many of our clients have a basic understanding of what a class action lawsuit is. However, most of them have no idea how the cases are handled. Many of the questions our class action attorneys field have to do with the process more than anything else.
Admittedly, class action lawsuits are a lot different from regular personal injury cases. Instead of having one plaintiff, there are many. The class itself is made up of people with common claims against a defendant.
The lead plaintiff, or the person who files the case on behalf of the group, represents the entire class. As we’ll discuss below, class action lawsuits are usually much larger in scale than individual lawsuits and, therefore, can take years to settle.
Why Does Settling a Class Action Lawsuit Take So Long?
Many factors contribute to the lengthy process of settling a class action lawsuit. First, the number of plaintiffs involved can be very large, which makes coordinating communication and gathering evidence difficult.
Second, there is often a lot of money at stake in these cases, which means that both sides are likely to want to thoroughly prepare their arguments before going to trial. Third, the legal issues involved in class action lawsuits tend to be complex, which can lengthen the amount of time it takes to settle.
Another challenge is that defendants in these cases are usually large, well-funded companies with legal teams who can drag out the process. Finally, appeals of earlier court decisions can add even more time to the process.
Strategies Defendants Use to Delay Settlements
The defendants in most class action lawsuits know that it will cost a great deal of money to settle any claims filed against them. They’ll use several strategies to delay settlements. One common tactic is to file a motion to dismiss the case, which can take months or even years to resolve.
Another strategy is to stall discovery, which is the process of gathering evidence. This can be done by objecting to document requests or refusing to produce relevant information. Defendants may ask the court for a continuance, meaning that proceedings are postponed.
All these delaying tactics can prolong the litigation process and make it more difficult for plaintiffs to obtain a fair settlement.
Do All the Plaintiffs in the Class Need to Accept the Settlement?
You may wonder if your class action attorney has to wait until all plaintiffs agree to a settlement before accepting it. The lead plaintiff or plaintiffs in a class action case decide whether to accept a settlement. If any of the other plaintiffs don’t agree to settle, they can opt out of the settlement.
It is important to note that if the class action settlement is approved by the court, all class members who do not opt out of the settlement will be bound by its terms. This means that they cannot later pursue their own legal action concerning the same issues.
Contact One of Our Class Action Attorneys with Any Questions You May Have
If you’ve been harmed by a medication, medical device, or any dangerous consumer product and believe you qualify to join a class action lawsuit, contact Class Action Lawyer Coalition right away. All you have to do is call us directly at 855-938-0980 and schedule your free case review.