For corporations, the threat of class action lawsuits is a cumbersome and expensive legal challenge that can sap budgets at a moment's notice. Though some industries are more susceptible than others, there is no sector impervious to actions brought on by a large group of defendants. The vast array of class action types—from wage and hour to consumer goods to securities—means that the risk of class action is omnipresent.
The argument that class action lawsuits are frivolous and overly burdensome for defendants is nothing new, but while cases brought against businesses are a common occurrence, legislative changes that would help to reduce the volume of cases, settlement figures or the number of plaintiffs have been few and far between in recent years. Those attempts to limit a plaintiff's right to sue have made civil justice reform a loaded term and are seeing considerable push back whenever such changes are proposed, according to James Jorden, shareholder of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt law firm.
Case by case
Regardless of their industry of genesis, court decisions can have wide-ranging effects on the way that lawsuits are brought to defendants. Comcast v. Behrend, for example found that a class was improperly certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), and had impacted the concept of predominance, requiring classes to offer more information about damages before allowing a case to proceed.