Class Action Lawsuit
Class action lawsuits are a very common form of lawsuit today. A class action lawsuit can be filed whenever a particular vehicle manufacturer employed a defective part in one of their automobiles, which negatively affected many individuals. Another example is a phone or banking company conducting an unfair trade practice against a number of its clients. Each of these examples is a class action lawsuit, and the suit itself becomes part of a large class. Every case will have a pre-determined settlement amount. This settlement amount will be paid out to the individual plaintiffs in the case by the defendant.
Cablevision Systems Corporation is a prime example of a company that received class action lawsuit checks mailed to its customers in the fall of 2021.
A few months later, in the fall of 2021, a large number of cablevision customers began receiving the same complaint letter from the attorney’s office of the class action lawsuit firm of Deutchler & Krehbdin, P.C. The complaint alleged that CableVision was falsely advertising their services in error and violating federal and local fair marketing laws. The purported offenses included advertising their services as “up to date” in violation of the Fair Communication Act, failing to disclose the fact that the services were not up to date, as required by the FMCSA, and failing to provide consumers with a toll free number to contact them at any time. Other class action lawsuit complaints against CableVision involved their failure to provide customers with an 800 number that could be called to report concerns or complaints. Such calls to the 800 number were also cited as an attempt to illegally charge fees for services that were not offered.
Upon receiving complaint letters from a class of customers that had been improperly charged for services, and after reviewing the company’s records, the attorney’s office determined that CableVision was in violation of FMCSA regulations regarding out-of-date statements and that they violated the FMCSA due to statements in their billing documents regarding the nature of their services.
After reviewing and examining the case, the attorney recommended that the class action lawsuit be dismissed, and that payment be made in connection with the class member’s attorney fees. Accordingly, the court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them full, actual damages and special damages.
The attorney’s office sought a preliminary injunction against Cablevision, contending that they were in violation of FMCSA regulations regarding out-of-date statements.
On appeal, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the court’s decision and held that CableVision was in violation of FMCSA regulations regarding statements relating to expected call times, which the company had promised in connection with its on-hold emergency dispatch services. The court found that the representations were deceptive and therefore qualified as improper advertising. The court further found that the company’s efforts to avoid deceptive and misleading advertising were not effective, as they failed to inform their customers of expected call times. Consequently, the court found that it had jurisdiction to award damages based on an appraisal of the damage that could have been prevented if CableVision would have made good faith efforts to advise their customers of expected call times.
CableVision argued that they had delivered warnings to their customers as required by law to prevent them from being unable to receive service during emergencies.
In addition, they maintained that the emergency transmitters had been properly trained on the manner in which they work, and that customers are well familiar with the equipment’s functionality. The court disagreed, reasoning that even if the warnings were properly delivered, there was no testimonial to establish that customers knew the condition of the equipment when they used it. Accordingly, the court awarded a class action lawsuit settlement per person and certified the damages to each individual plaintiff as a class action settlement per person. In January of this year, the Court of Appeals affirmed that decision and vacated the class action lawsuit certification.
Cablevision did not appeal the Court of Appeals’ denial of class action settlement checks. Instead, they filed a notice of intention to file a petition for certification of class action settlement checks with the SEC, which would certify the class. This would require each class member to file a complaint with the Commission and provide the Commission with personal information to obtain the funds requested. This action is now pending. Each class member will be paid the appropriate sum of money either by check money order or cash.
Some class members have already received money from the suit.
Plaintiffs and their attorneys are currently negotiating with the Commission over the terms of how they will share the monies that have been collected. In addition, some plaintiffs have already received substantial awards. When determining whether to pursue such cases, attorneys will consider any facts or circumstances which lead them to believe that the class members all actually met their legal obligations to be entitled to such monies.
The Class Action Lawsuit process has generated substantial benefits and rewards for many class members in recent years. However, there are still a number of class members who have yet to receive a check from the lawsuit. Some of the cases settled on a class action lawsuit have resulted in financial rewards that would allow all members of the class to receive a check for a percentage of the expected recoveries. Others settled on a partial class action lawsuit have resulted in financial rewards that cover only the named plaintiff’s expenses and costs. Whether a plaintiff can receive an award on a class action lawsuit depends on a number of factors including: the nature of the claims at issue, the length of the case, whether damages have been awarded and whether the defendant has admitted liability.