Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Oct 9, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

If you are part of a class action lawsuit, you were probably notified of your right to join the class action litigation by a specific attorney and/or law firm that is in charge of the litigation. That law firm should provide you with a source of information. As the case moves forward, you will likely receive mailed notices of any significant changes in the lawsuit.

There may also be convenient ways to access some of this information more quickly. For example, some law firms may set up a toll-free phone number that provides updates daily. Others may maintain websites that are updated as changes in the case take place. However, while you may receive updates regarding major developments in the class action lawsuit, you are not going to be kept fully in the loop or know the day-to-day happenings of the case unless you are the Lead Plaintiff.

The Lead Plaintiff is the person who brings the case to the attention of an attorney and who “certifies” the class (gets the court to approve it); and then many, many additional plaintiffs can join that class. Because there are so many people involved in some class action lawsuits, every plaintiff isn’t going to be communicated with regularly or asked for his or her opinion on the case.

Once you are in the class, you have little control over the case and probably will not receive much more than a few letters in the mail and a final settlement or award if the class wins the class action lawsuit or settles out of court. If you are looking for a high level of involvement, you will need to “opt out” of the class and sue privately.

If you’re unsure of the status of any class action litigation in which you’re involved, you have every right to contact the attorneys involved and ask for updated information, or to ask how you might obtain it. Many people are unsure how quickly such class action lawsuit cases may (or may not) move. Being able to access updated information as desired, rather than waiting for updates, and being unsure when to expect them, makes things much simpler both for those represented in the class action lawsuit and for the law firm in charge of it.