Frequently Asked Questions



General Class Action FAQs
What is a class action?
Who may bring a class action?
What types of cases are litigated as class actions?
Why should I bring a class action claim?
How do I know if I should get involved in a class action? What are the risks I might face and the expenses I might incur?
Does Abbey Spanier charge a fee for an initial consultation?
Does Abbey Spanier litigate cases outside of New York?
Why should I choose Abbey Spanier to represent me?
When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?

Securities Class Action FAQs
What is a securities class action?
Who may file a securities class action lawsuit?
Why should I bring a securities class action claim?
What is the “class period” in a securities case and how is it measured?
Who is a Lead Plaintiff?
What is the “Lead Plaintiff Deadline?”
How do courts determine who will serve as Lead Plaintiff?
What should I do if I missed the sixty-day Lead Plaintiff Deadline?
Can I participate in a securities class action even if I sold my shares?
What proof that I own shares in the defendant company must I provide?
How will I be informed of the progress of the class action?
Why should I choose Abbey Spanier to represent me?
When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?
I see that more than one law firm has filed a securities class action. Do I have to contact all of them?
Do I have to pay attorney’s fees and expenses to join a class action?
How long does a securities class action take to be resolved?
What kind of recovery may I expect?
How long after I end in my claim form must I wait to receive my share of any recovery?

Consumer Class Action FAQs
What is a consumer class action?
Who may file a consumer class action lawsuit?
Why should I bring a consumer class action claim?
What practices may be the subject of a consumer class action?
What types of relief can I seek through a consumer class action lawsuit?
When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?

Antitrust Class Action FAQs
What is an antitrust class action?
Who may file an antitrust class action lawsuit?
What business practices may be the subject of an antitrust class action?
Why should I bring an antitrust class action lawsuit?
What types of relief can I seek through an antitrust class action lawsuit?
When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?

Unfair Employment Practices FAQs
What is an unfair employment practice class action lawsuit?
Who may file an unfair employment practice class action lawsuit?
Can I bring a case if I am no longer employed with the company?
What are some of the common types of unfair employment practice class actions?
Can my employer retaliate against me if I bring suit to enforce my rights or recover wages?
What is the difference between a class action and a collective action?
What types of relief can I seek through an unfair employment practice class action lawsuit?
When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?

 

General Class Action FAQs

What is a class action?

A class action is a lawsuit which enables a representative or named plaintiff to sue one or more defendants on behalf of a group including every person who suffered the same type of harm, known as the “class.” A class action is filed when the factual circumstances in a case apply to so many people it is neither practical nor cost effective for each of them to file an individual action.

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Who may bring a class action?

Anyone damaged by the defendants’ alleged conduct may file a class action lawsuit if she or her attorneys has a reasonable belief that others have been damaged by the identical conduct. Depending on the applicable law, the court will appoint one or more plaintiffs to represent the class. 

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What types of cases are litigated as class actions?

• Violations of the securities laws/breaches of fiduciary duty
• Consumer fraud
• Antitrust violations
• Unfair employment practices.

 

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Why should I bring a class action claim?

An individual investor, consumer or worker who has suffered an economic loss as a result of alleged fraud or violation of law will likely find that an individual lawsuit would cost more than she might recover through a successful outcome of her case. A class action aggregates injured investors into one economically efficient case.

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How do I know if I should get involved in a class action? What are the risks I might face and the expenses I might incur?

Typically, you need not take any individual steps to join a class action. In fact, only those potential class members who specifically want to opt out of the class must act. By participating in a class action, you may, depending on the outcome, be compensated for the wrong, injury or damage done to you. By swelling the size of the class, you help show the court that the alleged wrongs harmed a substantial number of persons. Almost without exception, your costs will entirely be paid from any settlement or judgment obtained through a successful resolution of the case.

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Does Abbey Spanier charge a fee for an initial consultation?

Abbey Spanier usually litigates class actions on a fully contingent basis, so we charge you neither attorney fees nor litigation expenses. Our fees and expenses are normally entirely dependent upon our producing a successful outcome for the class. If we succeed in obtaining a recovery for the class, we seek the required approval from the judge for a fee and expense award paid from the total recovery.

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Does Abbey Spanier litigate cases outside of New York?

Abbey Spanier is based in New York; our decades of experience enable us to partner with attorneys throughout all the fifty states as needed to serve investors and consumers.

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Why should I choose Abbey Spanier to represent me?

Abbey Spanier has been litigating to uphold the rights of inured shareholders, consumers and employees since 1964 and has successfully recovered billions of dollars for clients like you.

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When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?

If you believe you have been harmed by the conduct of a company in which you invested, an employer or a consumer product or service, your ability to enforce your rights may be time-sensitive. You are urged to contact us for a free consultation at your earliest convenience.

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Securities Class Action FAQs

What is a securities class action?

A securities class action is filed by a group of investors who have all suffered economic loss from their investment in a stock or other security as a result of corporate fraud or other violations of securities law. Securities class actions are typically brought by one or more investors in the stock, known as “lead plaintiffs,” on behalf of all investors who suffered economic losses during that period of time when it is alleged that the company’s stock price was inflated by fraud (known as the “class period).

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Who may file a securities class action lawsuit?

A securities class action can be brought by anyone who has individual standing (that is, whose investment in a stock or other security has been damaged by a particular person or entity in violation of the securities laws) and, in general, has claims that are typical of other class members, has no conflicts of interest with other class members, and has retained competent, experienced counsel.  The class representative must be knowledgeable about the lawsuit, available to consult with his or her attorneys regarding the status of the case, and be available to execute affidavits and appear at deposition or trial if required.

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Why should I bring a securities class action claim?

An individual investor who has suffered an economic loss as a result of alleged fraud or violation of the securities laws will likely find that an individual lawsuit would cost more than she might recover through a successful outcome of her case. A class action aggregates injured investors into one economically efficient case.

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What is the “class period” in a securities case and how is it measured?

The class period is the time frame during which the lead plaintiffs believe the alleged fraud or other securities laws violations artificially inflated the price of the stock at issue. Only persons who purchased the stock during this period are included in the class. The class period is determined by plaintiffs’ counsel after a thorough investigation and research. The class period may be amended during the course of the litigation if additional information is uncovered during the discovery process.

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Who is a Lead Plaintiff?

The lead plaintiff is that person or group of individuals or institutional investors appointed by the court to oversee the litigation and serve as the representative for the class. In a securities class action, the lead plaintiff is usually the person or party who has the largest financial interest in the outcome of the litigation and is, as determined by the court, that plaintiff most capable of representing the interests of all class members.

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What is the “Lead Plaintiff Deadline”?

Applications to be appointed lead plaintiff must be filed with the court within sixty days following the first filing of a federal securities class action complaint. The deadline is absolute, so if you wish to be appointed lead plaintiff in a securities class action case, contact Abbey Spanier no later than five business days prior to the deadline.

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How do courts determine who will serve as Lead Plaintiff?

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “PSLRA”) provides that the most adequate lead plaintiff is the person or group of persons who has the largest financial interest in the relief sought by the class. Courts apply several economic models (absolute dollar loss or percentage-of-net-worth loss) in determining the lead plaintiff and may appoint co-lead plaintiffs in their discretion to achieve the PSLRA’s mandate.

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What should I do if I missed the sixty-day Lead Plaintiff Deadline?

If you purchased your shares during the class period and suffered economic losses you are part of the class by operation of law. The sixty-day deadline affects only applicants to be appointed lead plaintiff.

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Can I participate in a securities class action even if I sold my shares?

Yes. Continued ownership of the stock after the end date of the class period is not required to participate in the lawsuit.

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What proof that I own shares in the defendant company must I provide?

The best evidence is the confirmation slips of your original purchase(s). You may also use your brokerage account statements indicating when and at what price you bought your shares. Be sure to keep these records in a secure place; you may be required to submit them to the claims administrator once the case has been resolved. If necessary, you will be notified by mail when and where to send the documentation.

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How will I be informed of the progress of the class action?

You will be notified of any significant developments in the case via mail or e-mail. Abbey Spanier’s website will also be continually updated to reflect case developments.

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Why should I choose Abbey Spanier to represent me?

Abbey Spanier has been litigating on behalf of shareholders injured by securities, financial and accounting fraud since 1964 and has successfully recovered billions of dollars for investors like you.

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When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?

If you believe you have been damaged by the conduct of a company in which you invested, your ability to enforce your rights may be time-sensitive. You are urged to contact us for a free consultation at your earliest convenience.

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I see that more than one law firm has filed a securities class action. Do I have to contact all of them?

No. Contacting more than one firm is duplicative at best and potentially confusing. Intrinsic to securities class action litigation is the consolidation of all the class actions filed complaining about the same fraud into one case heard by a single judge, who will appoint the lead plaintiff. Lead counsel will coordinate with your attorney to ensure that your rights are secured.

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Do I have to pay attorney’s fees and expenses to join a class action?

Abbey Spanier usually litigates class actions on a fully contingent basis, so we charge you neither attorney fees nor litigation expenses. Our fees and expenses are normally entirely dependent upon our producing a successful outcome for the class. If we succeed in obtaining a recovery for the class, we seek the required approval from the judge for a fee and expense award paid from the total recovery.

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How long does a securities class action take to be resolved?

There is no single answer. Some cases are resolved early in the process, while others may take two, three or even more years to become final, depending, for example, on the nature of the case, the court hearing the case and the particular conduct charged to the defendants. Abbey Spanier works diligently to ensure the maximum possible recovery for our clients at the quickest, most prudent pace.

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What kind of recovery may I expect?

As a class member, you are entitled to your fair share of a total recovery that cannot be calculated until the case is litigated, and the size of the class and the defendants’ liability and ability to pay are determined.

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How long after I end in my claim form must I wait to receive my share of any recovery?

Generally, you will receive your share between nine and twelve months after your claim form has been submitted.

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Consumer Class Action FAQs

What is a consumer class action?

A consumer class action is a class action to enforce consumer rights under federal or state laws.  It typically involves a group of individuals who are the victims of a consumer fraud or other unfair or deceptive business practices that seek to enforce their rights and to obtain monetary damages.

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Who may file a consumer class action lawsuit?

A consumer class action can be brought by anyone who has individual standing (that is, has been harmed or injured by a particular person or entity in violation of a law or laws) and, in general, who has claims that are typical of other class members, has no conflicts of interest with other class members, and has retained competent, experienced counsel.  The class representative must be knowledgeable about the lawsuit, available to consult with his or her attorneys regarding the status of the case, and be available to execute affidavits and appear at deposition or trial if required.

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Why should I bring a consumer class action claim?

An individual consumer who has been the victim of a consumer fraud or other unfair or deceptive business practice will likely find that an individual lawsuit would cost more than she might recover through a successful outcome of her case. A class action aggregates injured consumers into one economically efficient case.

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What practices may be the subject of a consumer class action?

Consumer fraud class actions generally involve misleading or untrue advertising, overcharging for goods or services, or inadequate disclosure of contract terms or fees. Many complaints involve individual and home loans, credit repair, telephone and internet services, banking and credit card practices, deceptive advertising of products and services, pyramid schemes, and product defects.  These are examples and are not meant to be an exhaustive list.

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What types of relief can I seek through a consumer class action lawsuit?

A consumer class action may seek to enjoin a company from engaging in an illegal or unfair and deceptive business practice. Additionally, consumers may seek to obtain compensatory damages, statutory damages and other types of damages, depending on the circumstances of the case and the applicable law.

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When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?

If you believe you have been harmed by the illegal, unfair or deceptive conduct of a company, your ability to enforce your rights may be time-sensitive. You are urged to contact us for a free consultation at your earliest convenience.

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Antitrust Class Action FAQs

What is an antitrust class action?

An antitrust class action is filed by a consumer or entity who has suffered an economic loss from their purchase of a product or service as a result of a violation of federal or state antitrust laws. The Sherman Antitrust Act forms the basis of most claims and was passed by Congress in response to the monopolistic practices of the coal, steel, and oil industries. The Sherman Act prohibits illegal monopolies, conspiracies to restrain trade, restraints on trade, price fixing, and price discrimination where the effects are to eliminate or weaken competition in the marketplace. Many states have passed similar laws.

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Who may file an antitrust class action lawsuit?

An antitrust class action can be brought by anyone who has individual standing (that is, has been harmed or injured by a violation of federal or state antitrust laws) and, in general, who has claims that are typical of other class members, has no conflicts of interest with other class members, and has retained competent, experienced counsel.  The class representative must be knowledgeable about the lawsuit, available to consult with his or her attorneys regarding the status of the case, and be available to execute affidavits and appear at deposition or trial if required.

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What business practices may be the subject of an antitrust class action?

Antitrust laws protect consumers from a wide variety of practices. Antitrust violations include:

1)      Agreeing with a competitor to hold the price of similar products or services at, above, or below agreed-upon levels ("price-fixing");

2)      Agreeing with a competitor not to compete in a particular geographic area;

3)      Lowering prices below cost to drive a competitor out of business ("predatory pricing");

4)      Requiring a buyer to buy something that he does not want in order to buy something that he does want ("tying")

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Why should I bring an antitrust class action lawsuit?

A consumer who has suffered an economic loss as a result of an alleged antitrust violation would likely find that an individual lawsuit would cost more than she might recover through a successful outcome of her case. An antitrust class action aggregates injured investors into one economically efficient case.

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What types of relief can I seek through an antitrust class action lawsuit?

You can seek cash compensation as well as injunctive relief through an antitrust class action lawsuit.

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When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?

If you believe you have suffered an economic loss from your purchase of a product or service as a result of a violation of federal or state antitrust laws, your ability to enforce your rights may be time-sensitive. You are urged to contact us for a free consultation at your earliest convenience.

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Unfair Employment Practices FAQs

What is an unfair employment practice class action lawsuit?

An unfair employment practice class action lawsuit is a class action on behalf of current and former employees of a company who have been denied compensation in violation of the federal and state wage and hour laws and/or in violation of company policy.

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Who may file an unfair employment practice class action lawsuit?

An unfair employment class action can be brought by any employee who has individual standing (that is, has been harmed or injured by a particular person or entity in violation of a law or laws) and, in general, who has claims that are typical of other class members, has no conflicts of interest with other class members, and has retained competent, experienced counsel.  The class representative must be knowledgeable about the lawsuit, available to consult with his or her attorneys regarding the status of the case, and be available to execute affidavits and appear at deposition or trial if required.

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Can I bring a case if I am no longer employed with the company?

Yes, many employment class actions are brought on behalf of both current and former employees.

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What are some of the common types of unfair employment practice class actions?

There are many different types of unfair unemployment class actions.  Typically, these class actions are brought because an employer has violated federal or state wage and hour laws and/or a company policy.

Some common wage and hour violations include failure of employers to provide the following:

• Pay for all hours worked (off-the-clock)

• Proper compensation for overtime worked

• Minimum wage

• Interrupted breaks and meal periods (where mandated by a state law or promised   in a company policy);

• Earned Vacation Time;

• Compensation for time spent “donning and doffing” gear

• Reimbursement for work-related expenses

In addition, companies may try to avoid their legal obligations by misclassifying workers to avoid paying overtime wages, withholding for Social Security, workers' compensation, state and local taxes, making contributions to health and unemployment insurance and retirement plans and providing fringe benefits.

Some common misclassifications include:

• Misclassifying employees as independent contractors while retaining the ability to control the workers’ actions;

Misclassifying employees who are not exempted from federal and state wage and hour laws as "exempt" by, for example, giving the employee a managerial or professional job title that inaccurately describes the employee's work. Only workers devoting at least half their productive time to managerial, creative or intellectual work AND whose situations satisfy other requirements may appropriately be exempted.

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Can my employer retaliate against me if I bring suit to enforce my rights or recover wages?

Most states have laws which prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who take action to enforce their rights to be properly paid for wages and other employment benefits.

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What is the difference between a class action and a collective action?

Some statutes, such as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), allow a court to certify a collective action as opposed to a class action.  The key difference between a collective action and a class action is that in a collective action, absent parties are asked whether they want to opt-in to the lawsuit.  By contrast, in a class action, absent parties are bound by the result of the litigation unless they opt-out of the case after receiving a class notice.  Many FLSA cases are brought as both collective actions and class actions.  

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What types of relief can I seek through an unfair employment practice class action lawsuit?

You can seek to enjoin your employer from engaging in an illegal or unfair employment practices.  You can also seek compensatory, statutory or other types of monetary damages depending upon the circumstances of the case.

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When should I contact Abbey Spanier about my situation?

If you believe you have been the victim of an unfair employment practice, your ability to enforce your rights may be time-sensitive. You are urged to contact us for a free consultation at your earliest convenience.

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