When many people share a common experience of harm as the result of another's wrongdoing, a class action suit can represent their interests collectively. Acting collectively, individuals can take on powerful corporations, associations or government bodies and have their claims decided in court. Class proceedings level the playing field.
Stevenson Whelton MacDonald & Swan LLP maintains a steady caseload of class action claims. Our lawyers reach beyond our Toronto and Vaughan offices to represent clients throughout Ontario.
What Is A Class Action In Canada?
When many people have suffered harm from the same cause, the court can certify these people as a class. In a class action, the class, acting as one, takes on the party allegedly responsible for the harm. If litigation is successful, each member of the class shares in the proceeds.
At the heart of a class action suit is a common claim. At the outset of a class action suit, legal counsel must convince the court that there is indeed a common claim. The requirements for a common claim are precise and technical. Stevenson Whelton MacDonald & Swan LLP lawyers are skilled in this area of the law.
Class action lawsuits have the distinction of offering assistance to everyday people and to the legal system that serves all of us. Class actions:
- Honour the rights of all people to sue, even if each individual claim is a modest one
- Conserve the resources of the judicial system
Defective products, environmental disasters and the unethical actions of a corporation, association or government body are just a few of the scenarios that can give rise to a class action lawsuit.
Why Class Actions?
Class action suits offer several powerful benefits. They:
- Deter large groups (corporations, governments, associations) from using their size to commit unlawful acts on a grand scale.
- Save the judicial system time and financial resources, because common claims are handled as one suit.
- Deliver justice to all, regardless of the size of their wallet or their claim. Everyone who has suffered harm in a class action suit has the opportunity to be properly represented and properly compensated.
There is virtually no restriction on the possible subject matter of a class action claim. Stevenson Whelton MacDonald & Swan LLP has provided representation to class members in areas as diverse as medical product liability, Competition Act violations, securities and environmental hazards. Stevenson Whelton MacDonald & Swan lawyers are seasoned courtroom lawyers with the ability to handle novel, complex and large-scale class action claims.
How Do Class Action Cases Start?
- First, a court must certify the class action. Certification centres on the establishment of common issues and a common claim.
- The court will analyze the information presented and specify who may be included in the class.
- Once the class is certified, one or two individuals are chosen to represent the class of claimants at trial. These people will instruct legal counsel; they must establish a means of contacting other class members to fairly represent them.
How do mass tort actions differ from class actions?
Mass tort actions differ from class actions in that each plaintiff has an individual claim resulting from distinct damages. Each plaintiff receives his or her own separate trial — unlike a class action, where the plaintiffs are not usually considered individually, and there is only one trial.
Ontario Lawyers For Canadian Class Action Lawsuits
There is no fee to join a class action. However, time limits do apply to the commencement of any legal case.
Please visit our Active Class Actions page to see our current cases. If you are looking for more information about our existing class actions or want to discuss a new claim, contact us at 416-599-7900 in Toronto or reach us online.