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Class Action Lawsuits in Missouri

Class action complaint document and judge's gavel.

Insights from McShane & Brady, Personal Injury Attorneys in Kansas City

In the legal landscape, a class action lawsuit can play a pivotal role in seeking justice for a group of individuals who have suffered similar harms. The experienced attorneys at McShane & Brady specialize in navigating the complexities of class action cases, ensuring that our clients receive fair representation in seeking justice.

Our esteemed personal injury attorneys are at the forefront of providing legal counsel to the Kansas City metro area in both Missouri and Kansas. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of class action lawsuits, exploring what they entail, the qualifications for such cases, and the advantages of joining a class action instead of pursuing an individual lawsuit.

Understanding Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits are legal proceedings that allow a group of individuals with similar grievances to collectively file a lawsuit against a common defendant or defendants. This mechanism is particularly effective when a large number of people have suffered similar injuries, damages, or losses. 

Instead of each individual plaintiff filing a separate lawsuit, a single person or a few individuals may bring forth a lawsuit representing a group of similarly situated people. This approach prevents the court system from being inundated with hundreds or even thousands of separate lawsuits involving almost identical facts against the same defendant. 

Without the existence of class action lawsuits, where one can sue on behalf of a group with similar claims, the administrative burden on the court would be overwhelming. Additionally, the cost associated with filing a lawsuit individually might outweigh the potential recovery, making class actions a sensible choice in such situations.

Qualifications for Class Action Lawsuits

Not every case qualifies for class action status. In Missouri, for a case to be eligible, certain criteria must be met, in accordance with Missouri Supreme Court Rule 52.08(a). These requirements are as follows:

  1. Numerosity – There is a large enough group of affected individuals.

2. Commonality – There exists similar legal and factual issues among the plaintiffs.

3. Typicality – The claims of the representative parties are typical of the entire class.

4. Adequacy – The class representatives must adequately represent the class’s interests. 

Missouri Supreme Court Rule 52.08(b) further stipulates that in addition to meeting the four prerequisites listed above, the action must also fit into one of the following three categories: 

  1. Prejudice Class Action – Individual lawsuits could potentially introduce bias that a class action suit seeks to circumvent. Under (b)(1) certification, a “mandatory” class action is mandated, meaning absentee members are not given the option to opt out of the class.

2. Injunctive (or Declarative) Relief Class Action –  In these actions, plaintiffs focus on influencing the defendant’s behavior rather than pursuing monetary compensation.

3. Damages Class Action – This classification is commonly employed in class actions pursuing financial compensation when all members of the class have experienced similar injuries.

A considerable number of class actions reach resolution through settlements rather than going to trial. However, due to the unique characteristics of class actions, court approval is a requisite for settlements. Missouri law mandates that settlements must be deemed “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” The court ensures this by endorsing the settlement. In contrast, in most other case types, the court’s approval is not required if the parties reach a settlement agreement.

McShane & Brady excel in evaluating cases to determine their suitability for class action litigation.

Advantages of Joining a Class Action Lawsuit

Individuals facing similar legal issues often wonder whether to pursue individual lawsuits or join a class action. Class actions provide a mechanism for individuals who might not pursue legal action individually due to financial constraints or other barriers to access the justice system. Additional advantages of opting for a class action include cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and the ability to pool resources. By joining forces with others who have suffered similar harm, individuals can increase the impact of their case and enhance the likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome.

Class Actions in Data Breaches and HIPAA Violations

With technology advancing swiftly, the frequency and severity of data breaches and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violations have escalated. Cyberattacks, unauthorized access, and lapses in data security have exposed individuals to the risk of privacy infringement and identity theft. In response to these emerging threats, individuals are increasingly turning to class action lawsuits as a means of holding entities accountable for their role in compromising sensitive information.

McShane & Brady have successfully represented clients in these domains, recognizing the growing importance of protecting individuals’ privacy and holding entities accountable for lapses in data security. 

Speak With An Experienced Attorney

At McShane & Brady, located in Kansas City, our personal injury attorneys bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the realm of class action lawsuits. Whether dealing with traditional personal injury cases or navigating the complexities of data breaches and HIPAA violations, our commitment to justice remains unwavering.

If you have been the victim of a data breach or HIPAA violation in the Kansas City area, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The legal team at McShane & Brady can evaluate your circumstances and provide sound legal advice on the merits of your case and how to proceed. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at (816) 888-8010 to schedule your free consultation.