A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT generally results when someone involved in a lawsuit against a particular company or group realizes that others are involved in similar cases. The major parties in a class-action lawsuit are the plaintiffs, the lawyers, the defendant(s), expert witnesses, and court officials. In class-action lawsuits, lawyers tend to be either idealists who believe in a cause, or ambitious professionals who smell big money. Payment to attorneys may be a percentage of the award or a separate amount established by judges who hear the cases. If a lawyer is dedicated to the case for whatever reason, she may even put up personal funds to finance the early stages of a lawsuit.

Most class-action lawsuits derive from intentional sales of products that can cause harm to ...

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