A plethora of class action lawsuits are in existence in the United States today. A class action lawsuit happens when a certain individual’s case represent the same grievances as the others. The cases are consolidated as one major lawsuit and filed in the court -so to limit redundancy in individual claims while saving time and money.
These are the 5 Class Action Lawsuits in the US:
The States of America vs. Tobacco Manufacturers
In the 1990s individual states in the United States filed suits against tobacco companies, in relation to the numerous tobacco related illnesses brought about by smoking, -ranging from respiratory problems to lung cancer.
The 46 states were presented by each of the state’s Attorney General.
The lawsuit was filed against top six tobacco companies.
It started only with four of the top leading tobacco manufacturers which was Philip Morris Inc., R. J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillar, later on with the addition of Liggett & Myers and Commonwealth Tobacco.
It was settled in a joint settlement amounting to $206 billion over 25 years, with issuance of The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA ) on November 1998.
This agreement between the states and the tobacco companies exempt companies from future liabilities and obligations that would arise from tobacco use.
But the companies agree to pay in continuance, the medical costs that the states might incur for the care of individuals affected by smoking-related diseases -$206 billion over 25 years.
Stockholders vs. Enron Corporation
Stockholder and shareholders who invested on Enron Corporation filed a class action lawsuit against the company that went into bankruptcy in December 2001.
The class suit claims that investors had been intentionally deceived by Enron by concealing the actual losses incurred by the company. Nor were those losses disclosed in annual reports or SEC filings since it was declared under special purpose entities.
The lawsuit named Enron Corporation, individual Enron officers and directors, Enron’s accountant Arthur Anderson, individual Arthur Anderson partners and employees, and Enron’s former law firm Vinson & Elkin as the liable parties in the fraudulent activity.
Enron’s accountant Arthur Anderson and his auditing firm was particularly named since its accounting methods was also held in question.
Either the auditing company neglected to do its duties, lacked expertise or just concentrated solely in receiving their fees.
Thus, the Sarbanes -Oxley Act was born. An act that aimed to protect shareholders and their investments from unscrupulous companies.
On 2006, the courts demanded that Enron compensate the shareholders, whose stock became worthless after the company’s closure, with $7.2 billion worth in settlements.
It is the biggest amount paid in a shareholder securities class action.
The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spilled spilled more than 11 million US gallons (42,000 m3) of crude oil in Alaska ln March 24, 1989 which affected thousands of people and more than 1,300 miles of coastline.
It goes down in history as the second largest oil spill in the U.S.
A class action lawsuit that represented thousands of commercial fishermen, cannery workers, land owners, Alaska natives and others harmed by the spill, followed then after.
Initially a federal judge ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion in damages but was later on reduced to $507.5 million by the US Supreme Court in June 2008.
Betty Duke vs. Wal-Mart Stores
A 54-year-old worker in California, Betty Dukes, sued her employer Wal-Mart Stores for allegedly discriminatign against women.
Dukes claimed the despite having worked for six years at Wal-Mart with an excellent work track record, she was denied training and was discriminated against by having been denied a salary increase or a promotion. Unlike the male employers of the company who allegedly been recognized more than the female counterparts.
This case was elevated to a class action lawsuit representing the women workers of the company.
In the history of class action lawsuits in America this was considered to be the largest -in terms of the number of plaintiffs at more than one million. The lawsuit was also seeking 11 billion in settlements.
But the case was just too big and beyond the legal capacity of even the brilliant judges, -the court decided in favor of Wal-Mart.
Investors filed a class action lawsuit claiming that they were mislead by WorldCom, an American telecommunications company- that used to be the second largest telecomms in the U.S.
The lawsuit contends that the company puffed up profits by using deceitful means in accounting procedures.
To cover up for decreasing earnings, the company— headed by Bernard Ebbers (as CEO), Scott Sullivan (CFO), David Myers (Controller) and Buford “Buddy” Yates (Director of General Accounting)—overstated the WorldCom’s income by over $11 billion as later revealed by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).