The COVID-19 Pandemic was unexpected. Individuals, small business owners, and entire communities have been left reeling, attempting to deal with closures, and operational changes.
Overwhelmingly, the collective response to the pandemic has been supportive and dynamic, bringing communities closer together in a common effort to defeat the pandemic and protect the most vulnerable amongst us.
However, what happens when big business responds to the pandemic in a way that treats individuals and small businesses unfairly? We have already seen examples where big business has sought to protect profits instead of treating their clients and customers fairly. In Canada, certain Airlines have refused refunds on cancelled trips 1 and Insurers have denied claims of businesses and professionals who purchased protection against the financial losses caused by a pandemic of this nature.
In a lot of cases, the loss to each individual or business, while significant to them, makes litigation against a large corporation or insurer too costly or impractical. In certain circumstances, where a large corporation or insurer has committed the same wrong against a number of individuals or businesses, a class action can be used to hold them accountable.
In a “class action” lawsuit, a group of people, or “class members,” band together against a company, organization, individual or government who has caused the class members harm. The type of harm can vary dramatically but common examples include: breach of privacy; investor fraud; contaminated medications; defective products; faulty medical devices, systemic institutional abuse or harassment; dangerous automobile components, price fixing; employee rights violations; and overcharging of consumers.
We are in unprecedented times. It is difficult to predict the number of instances where large corporations will place profit over fairness. We foresee actions against airlines for refusing to refund costs, healthcare providers for negligent operations, and manufacturers of health products who are deceptive in their marketing materials.
Class actions allow regular people to hold corporations, governments and organizations accountable for their wrongdoing. Cases that would be too expensive or complex for people to bring on their own can be brought collectively as a class action. Class actions help individuals level the playing field against Defendants with practically unlimited financial and legal resources.
If you are facing any of these difficulties or have questions about a class action lawsuit, please feel free to contact our litigation team.
Written by: Kevin McLaren