A recently filed class action lawsuit against the maker of Purina dog food, Nestle Purina PetCare Co., has been filed, according to a St. Louis Business Journal report. Initiated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the suit alleges the product Beneful contains substances that are toxic to animals and asserts thousands of dogs have become seriously ill or died as a result. The plaintiff representative is seeking class certification on a local and national basis. If your business, or the business of someone you know, is facing a class action lawsuit contact an experienced and aggressive Charleston business litigation attorney right away.
What is a Class Action Suit?
A class action lawsuit is a legal mechanism under which one or more individual plaintiffs are permitted to file and pursue a case on behalf of a large group, known as a “class.” All of the individuals of the class should have suffered the same harm and, as such, are able to join the suit. These types of lawsuits exist to allow the courts to manage a case that otherwise would include hundreds or thousands of individual lawsuits against the same defendant(s) for the same wrong(s).
These types of suits are governed by federal law, as well as state court rules. The following requirements must be met in order for a class action suit to move forward:
- Large number of plaintiffs: there must be such a large number of possible plaintiffs and, consequently possible individual lawsuits against the defendant(s), that it would be impractical to file and defend each individual case.
- Common claims: these multiple plaintiffs must have a common claim – in other words, the legal and factual issues must be similar so that litigating various claims simultaneously is efficient and practical.
- Similar cases: the named “lead” plaintiffs in the class action suit, which act as the representatives for the class, must have the same claims and defenses as the remaining individuals that make up the class.
- Fair and adequate protection: the lead, or named, plaintiffs of the class action suit must look out for the interests of everyone in the class.
The court must certify a class for the lawsuit, based on the aforementioned list, before the case may proceed in court. Often certification is granted when the remedy sought is for the defendant(s) to take action or refrain from doing something.
Common types of class action suits include, but are not limited to: employment claims such as discrimination, wage and/or hour disputes; corporate and securities claims; products liability claims including tobacco, automobiles, or prescription drugs suits; and consumer services claims such as banking, phone services or cable TV.
Charleston Business Litigation Attorneys
The lead attorneys at Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson, LLC have represented numerous clients in business litigation cases, including: small businesses, insurance companies, regional and national companies as well as Fortune 500 companies. Serving the Charleston and Tri-County area throughout South Carolina, our attorneys will make every effort to defend a suit swiftly and with the desired results.