Class action litigation
- About class actions
- Behavior modification
- Case studies
Class actions are a unique yet contentious procedural mechanism in which a single person represents the interests of a group of plaintiffs, who will collectively share in any damages rewarded. Allegedly, the use of this procedural method provides redress to many societal wrongs that may otherwise go unheard, benefiting the victimized parties or the justice system as a whole. These benefits are characterized as social policy goals. The Supreme Court of Canada and The Ontario Law Reform Report on Class Actions holds that the three social policy goals of class action litigation's are: (1) access to justice, (2) judicial economy, and; (3) behavior modification (1: 117).
Despite these recognized benefits, class proceedings remain contentious in nature, due in part to their increasing popularity with respect to the profitable nature of their settlements. The proceeding report will elaborate on the forgoing statements while employing qualitative research methodologies to assess the advantages and disadvantages of class proceedings in relation to decisive court rulings and the three social policy goals
[...] This was one of the largest settlements paid in a direct action lawsuit and is a primary example of behavior modification affecting a court ruling. The aggravated damages were ultimately rewarded to the plaintiffs as an incentive for increased compliance with the law and a regard for the social costs of business. The following case studies and court rulings allude to the fact that class actions are a means of bringing about social reform by providing access to justice, judicial economy and behavioral modification. [...]
[...] model Behavior modification is the third social policy goal of class action lawsuits. In Settling a Class Action, authors Ward Branch and Luciana Brazil describe behavior modification as a type of disciplinary deterrent, by ?setting an example of' the defendant. The authors write: threat of large damages award sometimes on top of a large criminal penalty can act as an incentive to potential defendants to internalize the social costs of their activities, including the costs of wrongful behavior that would otherwise be spread among a diffuse class?(2). [...]