How much time will a class action take?

Posted on: July 14th, 2010 by Steve Larson

Being a plaintiff is usually not a huge time commitment.  In order to have the case authorized to proceed as a class action, class counsel has to file a motion for class certification.  In the motion, class counsel will ask the court to allow the plaintiff to be the class representative for the entire class.  Before that, the plaintiff that filed the suit will have to be a witness at a deposition, which is an out of court statement taken before a court reporter relating to the defendant’s wrongdoing.  It usually takes a couple of hours.  The plaintiff may also have to produce relevant documents that are in the plaintiff’s possession.  If the plaintiff becomes a class representative, the plaintiff will have the responsibility for looking out for the interests of all of the class members and, among other things, will have to stay informed about the status of the case and weigh in on major decisions (such as settlement).  Sometimes class actions get resolved quickly.  I am currently having settlement discussions in a class action we filed just a few weeks ago.  However, sometimes they take a long time.  I recently tried a class action that had been pending for 9 years, because an issue went all the way up to the US Supreme Court before this class action could be tried.