A few years back, I received some surprising mail. It seemed as though a company at which I had been a candidate for employment a full decade before had allegedly engaged in discrimination when hiring for its open positions. Because of the accusations, human resources record, including those pertaining to my past candidacy, were revealed. As a result, the Scott Cooper, the lead attorney in the class action case which had taken shape got in touch with me and informed me that I may have been illegally discriminated against. I was instructed to contact the law firm and let them know that I had in fact been interviewed by the company at issue during the specified time frame.
The law firm’s letter really did speak to me, as I had certainly had a rough time during that interview process and had been extremely disappointed not to receive an offer in the end. At the time, I was given several rather insulting reasons why I was not being hired (which were, in fact, discriminatory), and I felt the sting of that rejection for quite a lengthy period.
Roughly 12 months after being contacted by the class action attorneys, I was given a significant amount of money in the form of a settlement. This event triggered a deep interest in the realm of class action litigation. It is common to hear about pending class action suits and settlements on television and online, and many people have been contacted to let them know that they may be eligible to participate in a given matter. While many such cases only end up producing a very small amount of compensation for each plaintiff, it is not always easy to know whether it is worthwhile to join a suit of this nature.
My takeaways from the process were as follows:
Settlement amounts come in all sizes.
The actual amount of compensation paid to plaintiffs in case can run the gamut from a few dollars to many thousands. Virtually every class action case that resolves in favor of plaintiffs will produce a monetary payment of some sort. It is worth keeping in mind that plaintiffs will almost never have substantial input about how class action litigation is managed, how the evidence is presented or when to accept a settlement offer.