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Why You Should Pay Attention to Class Action Notices
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Why You Should Pay Attention to Class Action Notices

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This paper answers the question - why should you pay attention to a class action notice. …

This paper answers the question - why should you pay attention to a class action notice.
To answer this question, it is necessary to provide some background regarding the
content and purpose of class action notices.

Published in: Business

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  • 1. Why You Should Pay Attention to Class Action Notices By Linda Visser, Siskinds LLPIntroductionThis paper answers the question - why should you pay attention to a class action notice.To answer this question, it is necessary to provide some background regarding thecontent and purpose of class action notices.What is a class action?A class action is a type of litigation where the claims of many people who are similarlysituated are resolved in a single proceeding. Class actions can arise out of manydifferent circumstances, including price-fixing conspiracies, defective products,securities, employment, environmental, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.The term “class members” is used to describe people who are affected by a class action.What is the purpose of a class action notice?The purpose of a class action notice is to give possible class members notice of majorsteps in the litigation, including:  Notice of certification. Certification means that the court has held that class members’ claims can be properly prosecuted as a class proceeding. The notice of certification will state who is included in the certified class action and provide instructions for “opting out” or excluding yourself from the class action. If you do not opt out, you will be bound by the results of the class action and will not be permitted to pursue individual claims in respect of the matters at issue. For class actions commenced in British Columbia, Newfoundland and New Brunswick, non-residents must “opt-in” to be included in the class action. If you do not opt- in, you will not be able to participate in the class action.  Notice of settlement. Class action settlements are subject to court approval. The notice of settlement will summarize the fundamental terms of the settlement. The notice of settlement will advise of your rights to make oral or written submissions to the court regarding the settlement.www.siskinds.com Siskinds LLP
  • 2.  Notice of resolution of the common issues trial. This notice advises of the outcome of the common issues trial.  Notice of the claims process. This notice provides instructions on how to file a claim form in order to participate in a class action settlement or court award. The notice will also provide a deadline by which date claim forms must be filed. If you do not file a claim form by this deadline, you could be precluded from participating in the settlement or court award.In some circumstances, the notices might overlap. For example, a notice of settlementmight include information about certification for settlement purposes and/or the claimsprocess.Where is a class action notice published?Where the class action notice is published will depend on the scope of the class action,the matters in issue and the value of the claims at issue. For example, in anenvironmental case, where the impact is localized, the class action notice program willbe more targeted geographically. Where the class action is national in scope, the noticeprogram will be implemented across Canada.The following is a sample of where class action notices might be disseminated:  Publication in national and regional newspapers.  Publication in industry magazines.  Distribution to industry associations.  Direct mailings to persons involved in the relevant industry. For example, in a defective plumbing products case, the class action notice might be sent to large plumbing companies.  Posted online on the website of counsel acting for the class. All notices published by Siskinds LLP are posted on its website (www.classaction.ca).  Web advertizing.  Television advertizing.Additionally, where information is available about persons who are likely affected by theclass action, a direct mailing will be sent to such persons. For example, in somewww.siskinds.com Siskinds LLP
  • 3. circumstances, defendants are required to either send notice to their affected customersor produce the names and addresses of their affected customers for the purposes ofgiving notice. In securities cases, brokerage firms are sometimes asked to providenotice to their clients who purchased the relevant shares.Why you should pay attention to a class action noticeAs explained above, class action notices include information about your legal rights andyour options with respect to the class action. Class action notices also include importantdeadlines by which to act. If you miss those deadlines, you might be precluded fromparticipating in any settlement or court award and forego any compensation that youmight have been entitled to if you acted in a timely manner. The amounts at issue forindividual class members will range depending on the case, but can be significant. Forexample, in class actions relating to price-fixing, securities, pharmaceuticals or medicaldevices it is not uncommon for individual class members to receive tens of thousands ofdollars.If you are uncertain whether you are affected by a class action notice, you shouldcontact counsel at the addresses listed in the notice. For information about class actionsthat Siskinds LLP is involved with, please visit our website at www.classaction.ca. Ifyou have questions about your legal rights please contact Siskinds and ask to speak toLinda Visser at 519-672-2121.www.siskinds.com Siskinds LLP