FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Questions We Commonly Get from Our Clients

For most people, having an understanding of the law that goes beyond the mere basics isn’t a part of their daily lives. When people are challenged by a violation of their rights, however, not knowing certain basic details can cost them time or even their entire opportunity to seek fair and just compensation.

That’s why Bradley/Grombacher LLP has built this FAQ section to help inform potential clients. As soon as you can recognize that you were a victim of unlawful actions or activity, you can seek help from an attorney like one of ours in Agoura Hills and Westlake Village.

Should you have a question that we did not answer here, or one that pertains to your specific circumstances, please contact us online or call our number (888) 418-7094 to schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer who can help!

  • Q:What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

    A:A class action lawsuit is a type of litigation in which a person (or a group of people) sues a defendant over a variety of practices and seeks to represent a Class of people who have suffered similar harm or loss. Class action lawsuits allow the legal claims of multiple individuals to be resolved in a single lawsuit. Class action lawsuits may be filed to seek remedies for a variety of injuries or losses, including those experienced due to product defects, dangerous drug side effects, price-fixing, securities fraud, false advertising, employment issues, or environmental disasters, among others. There are three main factors that typically must be present in a class action lawsuit seeking monetary relief:
    • The disputed issue must be common to all putative Class Members and must predominate over any individual issues;
    • The number of potentially affected Class Members must be so numerous that it is not reasonable to attempt to bring them all in as individual plaintiffs before the court; and
    • The class action must be superior to litigating the claims individually. Generally, if a Class is certified by a judge, anyone who meets the definition of a Class Member will be bound by the outcome of the class action lawsuit unless they choose to opt out of the lawsuit. This means that if the case is resolved at trial or if a class action settlement is reached, all Class Members will be bound by the decision and will be unable to sue the company over the same issue at a later date unless they opt out of the litigation. In some types of class action lawsuits, however, Class Members must opt-in to the litigation in order to benefit from the outcome. Any monetary awards from a class action lawsuit or settlement will be distributed among Class Members according to a formula. Plaintiffs may be entitled to an incentive award to compensate them for the time and effort spent in litigation; however, these payments are not guaranteed and must be approved by a judge.

  • Q:What Types of Class Action Lawsuits Are There?

    A:A class action lawsuit may be filed in response to a number of practices, including allegations of price-fixing conspiracies, employment policies or practices, consumer protection, products liability, environmental disasters, and other issues that affect a large number of people:
    • Price-Fixing Conspiracies: Sometimes a group of companies that sell the same products conspires together to fix the prices of goods or services in violation of federal antitrust laws. As a result, consumers may be forced to pay more for the product than they would have if the companies had not engaged in anticompetitive acts. Price-fixing class action lawsuits help consumers fight back against these illegal practices.
    • Employment Law Violations: Employment laws offer many protections to workers, including the right to overtime pay, minimum wage requirements, protection against discrimination, and other violations. If an employer systematically violates the rights of a large number of employees, a class action lawsuit may be appropriate.
    • Consumer Protection: State and federal consumer protection laws prohibit companies from engaging in certain deceptive or unfair behavior. These laws protect consumers from false advertising, deceptive pricing, warranty violations and other misleading sales tactics. Additionally, with some exceptions, companies are also prohibited from calling, faxing or texting consumers without their consent. Consumer protection class action lawsuits are a good way to fight back against these illegal practices and seek compensation for the affected consumers.
    • Product Liability: Class action lawsuits may also be filed as the result of costly or dangerous product defects. Product manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their products and to warn about any foreseeable dangers. If a product is defectively manufactured or designed and it causes many people to become injured, the manufacturer may be liable.
    • Environmental Disasters: When a preventable environmental disaster occurs and affects a large number of people and businesses, a class action lawsuit may be the best way to hold the company accountable and seek reimbursement for the resulting losses.

  • Q:How Much Does It Cost to File a Class Action Lawsuit?

    A:In most cases, it does not cost a plaintiff anything to file a class action lawsuit. If a law firm decides to take your case, it will typically advance all of the legal costs necessary to investigate, file, and litigate your case. The law firm won’t receive any payment unless it wins the case. If the plaintiff wins the case, the plaintiffs’ lawyers will be awarded attorneys’ fees. Attorneys’ fees in a class action lawsuit are typically in the range of 25 to 35 percent of the total settlement. Class action lawsuits often involve complex legal matters against defendants who can afford to put up a very strong legal defense against the case. Therefore, anyone who is considering filing a class action lawsuit should consult with a lawyer experienced in this type of litigation.

  • Q:What Is a Mass Tort?

    A:A mass tort is a type of civil lawsuit involving many plaintiffs against one or more defendants. Many people think a mass tort is the same thing as a class action lawsuit, but these types of cases differ in key ways. A class action lawsuit involves one complaint filed against a defendant or a group of defendants. In a class action lawsuit, one or more plaintiffs represents the legal interests of a Class of individuals who have suffered similar harm. Mass torts involve many individual lawsuits filed by plaintiffs whose cases share some similar facts against the same defendant, but their injuries are different enough that a class action lawsuit wouldn’t meet the needs of each plaintiff. Mass torts are typically used for cases involving personal injuries such as drug and medical device cases, where the severity of the injuries can vary. In a mass tort, these individual lawsuits are grouped together so that the pre-trial proceedings may be handled by the same judge. A judge will consider factors when deciding if a mass tort is appropriate, including:
    • Whether a large number of plaintiffs are affected;
    • Whether the injuries they suffered are similar;
    • The proximity of the individual plaintiffs to each other;
    • Whether the claims brought by the plaintiffs are related to a common cause (such as a specific product, drug or disaster); and
    • Consolidation of similar lawsuits into a mass tort is an efficient way of handling the litigation. 

     In a mass tort, the judge will likely select a small number of bellwether cases, which will be tried before the others. Through these bellwether trials, juries will have the opportunity to rule on these cases and determine the extent of the defendant’s liability. Depending on the outcome of these bellwether trials, the defendant may decide to settle the remaining lawsuits or assume the risk associated with taking the remaining plaintiffs to trial.

  • Q:What If My Employer Doesn’t Pay Me Overtime?

    A:If you are a non-exempt employee who has worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but your employer failed to pay the overtime rate of 1.5 times your wage, you may be entitled to overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. You may also be entitled to pay under your state’s laws. For example, non-exempt employees who work more than eight hours in a shift in the State of California are entitled to overtime pay at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay. If your employer fails to pay overtime, you may have a legal claim. It is important to note that there are some exceptions to the overtime pay requirement. Some employers systematically fail to pay their employees the overtime pay they are entitled to receive. If you’ve brought it to your employer’s attention and followed all the company’s internal procedures for making a complaint, you will probably need outside help. If you have questions about your employer’s obligations regarding overtime pay, contact your state labor board for assistance. A wage and hour lawyer may also be willing to provide guidance. Employment laws can be extremely complicated. If you believe your employer failed to pay you overtime, it is not a bad idea to consult with an employment lawyer to find out the best approach to get the compensation you’re entitled to receive. In some cases, it may be necessary to file an unpaid overtime lawsuit. If the issue is systemic and similarly affects a large number of employees, an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit may be appropriate.

  • Q:What If My Employer Isn’t Paying Minimum Wage?

    A:Employers are required to pay workers a minimum wage. Employers who fail to pay all of the wages an employee has earned may be subject to hefty penalties. If your employer is not paying you minimum wage, you may have a legal claim and be entitled to compensation for your unpaid wages. As of Jan. 1, 2017, California employers must pay employees a minimum of $10.50 per hour if the business has 26 or more employees, or $10 per hour if the business has 25 or fewer employees. These rates are scheduled to increase each year until the minimum wage reaches $15 for all employees in 2023. The California minimum wage law does allow exemptions from minimum wage requirements in very limited cases. Even if you receive an hourly wage that meets California’s minimum wage requirements, your employer can still be in violation of California labor laws by requiring you to engage in unpaid “off-the-clock” work. If you are concerned that you may not be receiving the full amount of pay for all of your work, consider discussing your situation with an employment lawyer. Many employment lawyers offer free consultations that can help you figure out what steps to take to protect yourself and determine if you have a case. You may also consider filing a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to seek back wages. Depending on your specific circumstances, an employment attorney may recommend this step instead of filing a wage and lawsuit against your employer. If you suspect your employer is systematically failing to pay minimum wage to a large number of employees at your company, you may be able to file a minimum wage class action lawsuit on their behalf and help them recover back wages. Employment law involves complex legal issues. If you have a California labor law concern, schedule a consultation with an experienced law firm.

  • Q:What Is a Wage & Hour Lawsuit?

    A:A wage and hour lawsuit is an employment-related lawsuit filed by workers who allege they were not paid a fair wage for all hours worked or that their employment rights were violated in some way under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or their state’s labor laws. The FLSA and California labor laws require employers set forth certain minimum wage requirements and require employers to pay time and a half to non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Wage and hour laws also prohibit employers from letting employees work “off the clock” without pay. Common wage and hour complaints include:
    • Unpaid wages
    • Unpaid overtime
    • Off-the-clock work
    • Employee misclassification
    • Missed meals and breaks
    • Failure to pay minimum wage
    • Unpaid internship
    • Donning and doffing
    • Excessive side-work
    • Tip pooling 

    Discrimination California labor law offers extra protections to people employed within the state. In fact, California has some of the most generous wage and hour laws in the country.

  • Q:What Is False Advertising?

    A:Consumers are inundated with advertisements. Companies advertise their products on billboards, buses, television, radio, the internet, in newspapers and magazines, and the mail. Successful advertising depends on the ad’s ability to grab a person’s attention. However, federal laws prohibit companies from using false advertising to entice customers to purchase a product. The term “false advertising” refers to the use of false, misleading, deceptive or unproven information in advertisements or labeling. False advertising laws prohibit companies from misrepresenting the nature, qualities, characteristics, or geographic origin of products. Companies are allowed to make exaggerated claims as long as a “reasonable person” would not take such statements literally. This type of exaggeration is referred to as “puffery,” or a type of opinion about a product. You’ve probably seen companies advertise their products as “the best,” “tastiest” or “freshest,” but you probably didn’t interpret the statement as a fact. Unlike false advertising, puffery is not intended to deceive consumers about the product. In California, consumers are protected against false advertising and other deceptive trade practices by the following consumer protection laws:
    • Consumers Legal Remedies Act: This law protects California consumers against unfair marketing practices, such as deceptive labeling, vagueness, and deception.
    • False Advertising Law: This law prohibits companies from making false or misleading statements about the nature of a product or service.
    • Unfair Competition Law: This law prohibits “any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act.”
     One way to hold companies accountable is to file a false advertising class action lawsuit. If you win your case, the company may be required to make significant changes to their advertising practices and eligible Class Members may be entitled to benefits, such as a cash payment, voucher, or replacement product.

  • Q:What Is a Catastrophic Personal Injury?

    A:A catastrophic personal injury is a type of injury that involves life-altering damage to the spine, spinal cord, brain, or another part of the body. Recovery from these types of injuries is difficult, and a full recovery may be impossible. Many people who experience a catastrophic personal injury require a lifetime of medical treatment and personal care. Their independence and quality of life may suffer as a result of their severe injury. The injured person may also be rendered permanently unable to work, creating an additional financial hardship. Catastrophic personal injuries may include:
    • Spinal cord injuries
    • Brain injuries
    • Extensive burns
    • Paralysis
    • Loss of an eye
    • Nerve injuries
    • Amputations
    • Multiple fractures 

     These types of injuries can have a devastating effect on a person’s ability to be independent and, as a result, the injured person may require ongoing personal assistance and medical treatment for a lifetime. Family members are also affected as they may need to take on additional jobs to offset the loss of income or assume extra responsibilities to help care for the catastrophically injured person. If you or a loved one has experienced a catastrophic personal injury, the mental, emotional and financial burden can be immense. It may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain the compensation necessary to cover these expenses. Although a financial award cannot undo the damage caused by the catastrophic personal injury, it can help alleviate some of the pressure of seemingly endless medical bills and other expenses.

  • Q:What Do I Do If I Think I Have a Case?

    A:If you think you have a legal claim, you should schedule a consultation with a lawyer who has a lot of experience in the relevant area of law. Many personal injury and employment lawyers offer free consultations with no risk or obligation. This free consultation will give you a chance to discuss your situation, the steps you can take to protect yourself, and your legal options. When you first meet with a lawyer, be prepared to answer questions about your potential legal problem. Tell your lawyer about the actions or omissions that led to your injury or loss. If you have relevant documentation or photographs related to the incident, you should bring them for the attorney to review. Investigating legal claims, filing a lawsuit, and preparing for the possibility of trial involves a great deal of commitment from an attorney. Therefore, the lawyer will carefully evaluate the circumstances of your potential case to determine the strength of any legal arguments and the likelihood of recovering monetary damages. It is important to note that a lawyer’s agreement to represent you does not guarantee that you will recover any money. Your lawyer’s commitment to you is to provide competent legal representation. Are you looking for a reliable law firm to handle a claim related to a personal injury, employment law violation, or a violation of consumer law? If so, you’re in the right place.

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