frequently asked questions

FAQ Categories

General

Class Actions

Securities Litigation

Derivatives

Lead Plaintiff in a Class Action

Whistleblower / False Claims Act

Questions And Answers

General

How do I contact you?

You may email us or call 312-606-0500 to speak with one of our attorneys. 

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If I have a claim, should I file my own lawsuit?

Whether or not you should file your own lawsuit depends on the nature of the suit and individual circumstances. Some class actions seek recovery for a large group of people; however, individual damages may be small.  On the other hand, if a person has substantial damages and a serious claim, a lawyer should be consulted to assist in making the decision.

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How do I know if I have a case?

If you feel you may have been the victim of unfair or deceptive business practices, please do not hesitate to email us or give our attorneys a call at 312-606-0500.  We will be glad to discuss your experience and your rights with you, in confidence and without obligation, and will undertake any investigation we feel necessary.

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Class Actions

What is a class action?

Class actions are sometimes called "representative actions." This is because one person or a few people are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which is filed on behalf of an entire class of people who were similarly injured. The lead plaintiff or class representative is named in the lawsuit and must have a claim that is representative or typical of the claims of the rest of the class.  An attorney at Krislov Law can help you determine if you have a claim that potentially.   

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What types of class actions may be filed?

Most class actions are filed for compensatory (money) damages. Class actions may also be filed to resolve disputes over a "limited fund," where the money available is inadequate to fully compensate all class members. Occasionally, class actions are filed to seek a declaratory judgment. Finally, a class action may seek injunctive relief. For example, a class action may be filed to request the court order the police or authorities to discontinue an unconstitutional practice.

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Can I be bound by a settlement or judgment of a class action?

Yes. If the constitutional and procedural protections required for fairness are met in the underlying action, all absent class members are bound to the judgment or settlement of the case. However, if the action is primarily for compensatory damages, absent class members are entitled to notice and an opportunity to "opt-out" (exclude themselves) from the proceedings. If a person opts-out, he is not bound by any judgment or settlement of the class action. In the event a class action is for declaratory or injunctive relief, notice is not required to bind absent class members and the court may not allow you to opt-out.

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How do I join a class action?

Generally, before a court certifies a class action, it must conclude that there are too many class members for them all to be named as parties in the lawsuit. Technically, class members do not "join" into the litigation, but decide to participate by not "opting-out." It is only in rare instances when a suit is filed as an "opt-in" class action. In those rare instances, a claim form or request to join form may be necessary. Ordinarily, the notice issued to class members in the usual suit for compensatory damages will tell the class if they need to take any action to participate. In a suit for compensatory damages, any class member who does not "opt-out" may be bound by the results of the litigation if it proceeds as a class action. If a class member should determine, however, that he wants to participate in the suit as a named party, he may hire his own lawyer and seek to intervene (participate) in the lawsuit.

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Who pays the lawyers in a class action lawsuit?

In a class action for money damages, lawyers who represent the class are generally paid out of the recovery, i.e., "common fund" they create for the plaintiff class. In class actions involving declaratory judgments or injunctive relief, lawyers may be paid by the plaintiffs that hired them, or in some cases, by the defendants if the plaintiffs win.

Attorney fee awards are subject to court review and approval. Ordinarily, if an award is made in a common fund case, it will be awarded as a percentage of the fund created for the class. A benchmark award generally accepted by the courts is approximately 25% to 35% although the award may be adjusted higher or lower depending on the specific facts of a case.

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How can I obtain more information on any legal issue regarding a class action?

If you have a question about class action litigation, or are concerned you may be adversely affected by a pending case, contact Krislov & Associates at 312-606-0500.

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Securities Litigation

What is a securities class action?

A securities class action is a class action filed by investors who purchased a company's stock, which then declined in value due to fraud or other malfeasance on the part of the company and/or its officers and directors. In a typical scenario, the company will have failed to disclose material adverse information, or will have overstated revenues or earnings, keeping the share price artificially high.

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Derivatives

What is a derivative action?

A derivative action is a lawsuit brought by a shareholder of a corporation, on behalf of the corporation, to enforce a cause of action against a third party, such as an officer or director of that corporation. Derivative actions most often involve charges that officers and directors are wasting corporate assets, or that a corporation's management or board of directors breached fiduciary duties owed to shareholders by negligence, mismanagement or self-dealing. 

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Lead Plaintiff in a Class Action

Who can be the Lead Plaintiff in a class action?

Usually the person who got the ball rolling will be chosen as the "lead plaintiff," "named plaintiff," or "class representative" in the class action. These labels are used interchangeably.  Although anyone can offer to be the lead plaintiff, the role must be officially sanctioned by the court. Who is qualified generally to be the class representative is governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or a state's specific procedural rules. In some areas of the law, there are specific rules governing how the court determines the class representative.

The named plaintiff also must meet specific criteria under the facts of the particular case. His or her injuries must be representative of those of the entire class, and the judge must believe that the lead plaintiff will adequately represent the interests of the class.

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What is the role of the Lead or Named Plaintiff in a class action?

After obtaining the court's permission to go forward with the lawsuit as a class action, the attorneys and the lead plaintiff work with the court to determine who will be considered a class member. As the case progresses, the lead plaintiff also has control, with the attorneys, over the direction the litigation will take. The named plaintiff works with the attorneys and appears at pre-trial conferences and in court in a manner that closely resembles a typical individual lawsuit. Unlike the other members of the class, the named plaintiff undertakes to give substantial service to the class when he or she agrees to serve as the class representative.

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Whistleblower / False Claims Act

What is the False Claims Act?

 The False Claims Act (FCA) is designed to punish those who knowingly submit false claims for payment of government funds. Under the FCA, parties guilty of federal fraud (not including tax fraud) are liable to pay triple the government’s damages and are often made to pay civil penalties ranging from $5,500 to $11,000 per false claim.

The False Claims Act is also known as the Qui Tam Act or the Whistleblower Act.  It encourages citizens to file qui tam actions against corporations that commit fraud against the government.  When a citizen files a qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the government, that citizen is called a whistleblower or “relator.”  Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, when the government joins a qui tam case, the relator is entitled to a reward of 15 percent to 25 percent of the recovered amount.

 

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What is a Whistleblower?

A Whistleblower plays a key role in the detection, investigation and prosecution of fraud against the government.  When a citizen files a qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the government, that citizen is called a whistleblower or “relator.”  Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, when the government joins a qui tam case, the relator is entitled to a reward of 15 percent to 25 percent of the recovered amount.

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What are the types of fraud exposed and prosecuted using the False Claims Act?

The common types of fraud that are exposed and prosecuted using the False Claims Act are pharmaceutical fraud, government healthcare fraud, defense contractor fraud and real property fraud.

Violations of the provisions of the False Claims Act include:

•Knowingly submitting (or causing the submission of) false or fraudulent claims for payment of Federal Government funds

•Knowingly making (or causing to be made) a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Federal Government

•Knowingly making (or causing to be made) a false record or statement to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit property to the Federal Government

•Conspiring to defraud the Federal Government by getting a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid.

 

 

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Krislov Law

20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 1300
Chicago, IL 60606

Toll Free:  855.263.3025

Tel: 312.606.0500 | Fax: 312.739.1098
Email: mail@krislovlaw.com

Photography by Ian Korer