The New York Attorney General's 2004 insurance investigation revealed compelling evidence pointing to the widespread practice of bid rigging and other improper transactions perpetrated by ACE, AIG, and Marsh, among others. ACE avoided a trial by paying a large settlement, agreeing to significantly change its business practices, and the company issued a formal apology to consumers who had been victimized.
Class Action Lawsuit - A Definition
Class actions are a method for different persons to combine lawsuits because the facts and the defendant are similar. In effect, it allows a single person to sue a company on behalf of “all those similarly situated”. As such, similar plaintiffs are joined together to prosecute the claims in a more efficient manner.
Class actions are designed to save court time and allow one judge to hear the dispute and make a decision that is binding on all parties.
In cases where money damages are sought, in determining whether a class action is a fair and efficient method of settling the controversy, the court will consider among other matters: whether the common questions of law or fact prevail over any question affecting individual claims, whether the size of the class will make handling of the claim arduous, whether the prosecution of separate claims would create varying adjudication and inconsistent standards of action or diminish the capacity of individual members to preserve their interests.
Courts will also consider whether the venue selected is appropriate for litigation of claims of the particular class. In addition, the court will examine the complexity of the issues, the expenses of separate litigation claims and whether there are conflicts among the interests of the class members.
Courts will also generally consider whether the attorneys for the class have experience in handling class actions and/or claims similar to those of the proposed class and if the class will receive fair and adequate representation.
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