Switch to ADA Accessible Theme Close Menu


A constant source of help for your family in times of need, we’re available 24/7 in person, by phone and video conference. Call us anytime for an always free consultation.

Free Initial Consultation
protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms

Understanding Class Certification in a Class Action Lawsuit


A group of Palm Beach County homeowners filed a class action lawsuit against Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace manufacturing company, alleging that their property values decreased because of industrial pollution from a nearby plant. But a federal judge in Florida recently denied class certification.

What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is a case where multiple people join together to sue a particular wrongdoer. There are four main types of class action lawsuits:

  1. Product liability actions. This type of case arises when a company manufactures a defective product, or a company (like Pratt & Whitney) spills a toxic substance.
  2. Unfair trade practices. Multiple consumers are affected when companies make false product claims and the product doesn’t work as advertised.
  3. Employment class actions. If an employer doesn’t pay overtime or violates any labor law, the employees can bring a collective lawsuit.
  4. Consumer class actions. Companies that don’t comply with consumer protection laws, like by illegally overcharges customers, can be sued in a class action suit.

One party typically serves as the class representative and makes decisions on behalf of the class. The representative’s claims must raise legal and factual questions common to each class member. An experienced attorney can explain this and other prerequisites for class action lawsuits in Florida. Keep in mind that the rules might be different for federal lawsuits, like the Pratt & Whitney case.

What Is Class Certification?

A class action lawsuit can only proceed if the class is certified. The class action certification process ensures that there are enough similarities among the plaintiffs’ claims to maintain one larger lawsuit. Sometimes it makes more sense for the would-be class members to pursue individual lawsuits against the defendant instead.

That’s what the court decided in the Pratt & Whitney case. While the plaintiffs all claimed that the environmental contamination decreased their property values, the court concluded that the company’s liability to each individual plaintiff turns on “individual-specific questions,” like the severity of the contamination and when the plaintiff purchased the property.

The court said: “So, while there will be some common methods of proof, such as defendant’s disposal practices, migration pathways, and properties of released contaminants, it is likely common liability issues will not predominate in this case.”

While there are certain advantages to filing a class action lawsuit (like pooling resources), an individual lawsuit can also be beneficial. For example, when the decision-making authority lies in one class representative, you might not get a say in the litigation strategy. Either way, an experienced attorney can help you recover the compensation that you deserve.

Contact Us Today

Contact a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you or your property were exposed to toxic contamination. We will examine the facts of your case and develop an effective legal strategy to recover compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.



Read What Others Have To Say About Us

  • “I'm very happy with this firm... Joel is an excellent attorney and Carolyn is an amazing paralegal, After been ditched from another law firm, Pendas took care of me and they won my case. I recommend them 100%...” - Jacksonville -

    Maria Pastor
  • “This law firm is amazing. I love how they always try to stay/keep in contact with you. It shows that they really care and want everything taken care of correctly, Thank You!...” - Orlando -

    Shantelle Blackwell
  • “I'm very thankful for all the attention of all the Pendas staff that took care of my case and helped me through the process, thanks for your patience, collaboration and comprehension!...” - Tampa -

    Carlos Guadalupe
  • “The Pendas Law Firm was amazing! They are very kind, professional, and hard-working! They always kept me informed. Larry Trias was great to work with! I always recommend Pendas to family and friends. Thank you for helping me with my case!” - Fort Myers -

    Heather Pepper
  • “Their attorneys are absolutely someone you want handling your car accident claim. They communicated with us promptly and thoroughly. I was very happy with our recovery. Their staff speaks Spanish and you feel like family.” - Orlando -

    Ian Brito
  • “I would definitely recommend this firm. The staff really helps you and they actually show you that they care, especially Siomara Roldan. She has been a great help for my family and myself, she is always helpful with any questions.” - Tampa -

    Wilmer D Santana Rodriguez
  • “5 stars for these guys! Hays Mathis got my case settled without going to court for a sum that dwarfed what the other guys were advising me to take. I highly recommend Hays not only because he does the work to get it done but he cares about the client and outcome as well!” - Jacksonville -

    Mike Reilly
  • “Pendas is the best! The paralegals are very attentive to your case, knowledgeable, and communicative! The attorney also won’t just be there the day of your sign up, but all throughout the process as needed. I truly recommend Pendas!” - Orlando -

    Ben Fitzgerald