It would be difficult to find a legal issue more controversial than class action suits. Joseph Garrison, former president of the National Employment Lawyers’ Association, calls class actions “the only way rank and file employees with modest claims have any chance of receiving justice”. Senator Orrin Hatch disagrees, calling class actions, “jackpot justice”. A Washington Post editorial calls class actions, “a high-stakes extortion racket”.
The National Workrights Institute examined five of the largest and best-publicized recent employment class actions to see which of these descriptions of class actions is most accurate. For each case, we asked the following questions:
Did the case have a strong factual basis?
How much of the recovery did the plaintiffs’ attorneys receive?
Would the employees have been able to bring their claims without class actions?