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Definition of Class Action

A class action lawsuit is a claim brought by one party for a group of individuals who have been injured or suffered loss from the same action or grievance. To have a class action lawsuit there must be a group of people with a "well-defined interest" who have similar injuries as each other. The goal of the class action lawsuit is to increase the power of the suit of individuals to fight against malfeasance of a larger entity.

Common class actions suits included a 2006 class action suit against Enron by a group of investors who settled their lawsuit for $7.2 billion. Another common class action suit was filed against Bridgestone/Firestone when their tires led to numerous accidents and injuries. Makers of silicone breast implants were the subject of another huge product liability class action, which eventually settled for $3.4 billion. Fishermen and canners also successfully filed a lawsuit against Exxon for the Valdez oil spill.

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