The Most Famous Class Action Lawsuits in Legal History

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has estimated that more than 1,000 class action lawsuits are filed each year. 

With all of these large corporations having lawsuits filed against them, it is important to be cautious with investments. 

Are you interested in learning some of the most popular cases that have made an impact? 

Continue reading to discover what class action lawsuits are. Plus, a class action lawsuits list that will help identify some of the biggest cases.

What Are Class Action Lawsuits? 

Class action lawsuits consist of a group of people who are represented by a member. This group of people collectively goes against a defendant. 

These lawsuits are different from traditional ones. Multiple parties of people are included within the lawsuit. One of the advantages of filing this type of lawsuit is that it provides help to plaintiffs who cannot afford an attorney. 

A goal of doing class action lawsuits is to reduce the number of suits going into the courts. These lawsuits are filed with the most basic information that applies to the whole group. With a large group of people within the class action lawsuit it is too difficult to get every case to look identical

It is common that attorneys only get paid in these cases if they win on trial or through settlement. 

Below is a class action lawsuits list that identifies some of the most well-known cases. 

1. BP Oil Spill in Mexico

One of the biggest and most well-known cases that were all over the news channels involved the BP oil spill. 

The year 2016 was not the best, especially for BP. Due to environmental damage and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill the company provided money to the state and government. This money mainly covered federal claims and penalties. 

The BP Oil Spill lawsuit was done by pubic prosecutors. This spill endangered many species of animals and wildlife. The entire coast experienced repercussions from the spill.

2. Tobacco Companies

Around 1998, four tobacco companies agreed to a large settlement to help cover medical costs for those that smoked their products.

More than 45 states were included in this settlement and people were meant to receive payments over 30 years. The total settlement amount for this lawsuit was $206 billion. 

Although this class action lawsuit was not traditional, it was the easiest way to get tobacco companies to pay back and help with Medicaid programs. 

Unfortunately, a lot of the money from the settlement has been used for bond financing. People would be much more satisfied if the money was put into their accounts and not spread out over time. 

3. Kona Beer

One of the biggest class-action lawsuits that happened in Hawaii was with the Kona Beer company.

This company was being targeted for its false advertising. The brand was marketing its beer as Hawaiian brewed. Unfortunately, this was not the case—Kona beer was being brewed throughout the continental US. 

Those that were affected by this lawsuit included people who bought 4, 6, 12, and 24-packs of Kona Beers. Each member received a couple of dollars per pack bought.

Homes were limited to receiving $20 if they have proof of their purchases. If no proof, they could get up to $10. 

If you live in Hawaii and are looking to learn more, go here to discover the fundamentals of prosecuting. 

4. Enron Security

The Enron Security class-action settlement happened in 2006. 

Enron was an energy trading company that had defrauded shareholders. Shortly after the fraud occurred, the company declared bankruptcy. The majority of the settlement funds came from JP Morgan Chase, Canadian Imperial Bank, and Citigroup.

Enron, at the time, was the 7th largest company in the US. Corporate corruption and accounting issues surfaced in the fall of 2001. 

The previous executives of the company, Kenneth Law and Jeffrey Skilling went on trial and were convicted of fraud and conspiracy. Unfortunately, many people lost their jobs and pension benefits that they worked so hard for. 

5. Worldcom Securities

After solving the Enron security scandal, a similar issue arose at Worldcom Securities. 

The late ’90s were a successful time for Worldcom. They were once considered to be the largest communications company in the world but talk of a merger changed the game for them. 

The CEO of Worldcom had made the merger proposal and even though it fell through, he kept the stock prices high for the company. He even stole millions of dollars from the company so that he could keep his stock. 

Shortly after 2005, the company declared bankruptcy and had to share a settlement with its previous investors. 

6. Facebook

At the end of 2007, Facebook started a new program called Beacon that led to privacy issues and a lawsuit.

The Lane vs Facebook class action lawsuit happened when Facebook users’ private information was released online without consent. Quickly after this problem was identified, Facebook got rid of the Beacon program and created a large fund for security online. 

Unfortunately, there was no money given to the people affected in this case. Facebook is still one of the largest companies in the world and is constantly updating its privacy and security settings.  

It wasn’t until 2010 when the court decision was made. Since then there have been other minor cases related to privacy concerns. 

This Class Action Lawsuits List May Surprise You

Reading this class action lawsuits list can be a bit of a surprise. Many companies that you know and still use are on the list! 

The goal of these lawsuits is to have one collective group go against a defendant. This group is often represented by one person. These types of lawsuits happen when harm is done to a large group of people.

Although these lawsuits are expensive and a long process, they do help reimburse people with money.  

Be sure to check out our blog for more articles on interesting lawsuits and government news!