1. What is a class action?
A class action is a representative lawsuit which allows an individual or entity to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of other individuals or entities who are in the same or similar circumstances with respect to a given defendant. A class action is appropriate when many people have been affected by a company's course of conduct in a similar fashion.
2. What is a class period?
A class period is a range of dates within which a company is alleged to have been engaged in improper conduct. The attorneys investigating and prosecuting a case will review the facts of the case, and along with the court-appointed Lead Plaintiff, determine the appropriate beginning and end of a class period. Sometimes, after an initial complaint is filed, a class period will be lengthened or shortened as an investigation continues. If you purchased the securities of a company during a class period, you are automatically a class member, regardless of whether you specifically retain a law firm to prosecute claims on your behalf. This "class membership" concept is also true with respect to consumer fraud class actions and antitrust class actions. For example, if you purchased goods from a company that was accused of improper marketing practices during the relevant period of time (the class period), you would be a member of the class for a consumer fraud class action, even if you did not personally retain an attorney.
3. What is a lead plaintiff?
A lead plaintiff in a class action brought pursuant to the federal securities laws, sometimes referred to as a named plaintiff or representative party, is typically appointed by the court within 90 days of the publication of a notice of the pendency of the class action. In these types of actions, the court selects the class member or members most capable of representing the interests of the "absent" class members. There is a statutory presumption that the class period investor or investors with the largest financial losses, who are otherwise typical of the "absent" class members and are adequate to represent those class members, are considered the "most adequate" plaintiff. Courts have appointed individuals, groups of individuals, institutional investors, groups of institutions, or even combinations of both as lead plaintiff as the circumstances of each case may dictate. The lead plaintiff selects counsel to represent the lead plaintiff and the class, and these attorneys if approved by the court are lead counsel or class counsel.
4. How long does it take to prosecute a class action?
The time to prosecute each class action varies based on the facts, parties, and jurisdiction of a particular case. It is not unusual for a class action to take up to 3 years to complete.
5. What is contingency fee litigation?
Contingency fee litigation refers to situations where attorneys only get paid if they win the case at trial or if the action settles. Attorneys who practice on a contingent fee arrangement typically do not receive any form of monetary payment from a client at the outset of a litigation. Rather, the attorneys' fees are paid only once there is a successful resolution from any settlement or judgment that is achieved. There are no out-of-pocket expenses for the plaintiffs as Pennsylvania law allows Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP to advance all such costs on behalf of its clients. Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP handles virtually all of its cases on a contingency fee basis.
6. What will it cost to be involved in a class action?
Because Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP prosecutes class actions on a contingency fee basis, there are no out-of-pocket fees or expenses paid by the client, regardless of the outcome of the case. If we are successful in obtaining a recovery for the class, we will apply to the court for a fee that fairly represents the work performed and risk assumed by Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP. In securities class actions, attorneys' fees typically are awarded as a percentage of the relief achieved by the attorneys for the class. These percentages vary considerably based on the size of the recovery for the class, the length and complexity of the litigation, and several other factors.
7. Will my out-of-pocket loss equal my damages?
Damages are a complex legal calculation that may or may not equal your out-of-pocket loss, which is a purely economic calculation. To establish damages in securities class actions, lead counsel typically hire experts to determine the extent by which a company's stock is artificially inflated during the relevant class period. Because there are often other factors which contribute to stock movement, factors which experts readily assess, one's damages are not necessarily the equivalent of out-of-pocket loss.
8. Do I have to keep my stock to participate in a securities class action?
No. As long as you purchased during the class period, you are eligible to participate in any recovery that the class enjoys regardless of your current holdings.
9. Why should I sign up with Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP?
Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP has specialized in class action litigation for nearly twenty years, and has represented all types of investors in recovering financial losses caused by fraud or other misconduct. Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP has developed a nationwide reputation for excellence and has recovered over one billion dollars for victims of fraud and other corporate misconduct.