how long does a class action lawsuit take ca

Plaintiffs involved in a class action lawsuit in California commonly ask, How long does a class action lawsuit take?

While class actions are a powerful way to hold entities responsible for their bad actions, the path to resolution can be long and complicated.

Typically, a class-action case can span one to four years. However, complex cases involving large corporations or significant damages can last well beyond this timeline.

Below, the class action lawyers at Workplace Rights Law Group discuss class action timelines. If you have questions or would like to speak with a member of our team, call us at 818-334-6881

How Long Does a Class Action Lawsuit Take to Settle?

A class action’s journey begins when a group of people with similar claims against a defendant files a Complaint. It ends after the parties either settle or go to trial.

Every step in between takes time, but numerous other factors, including the case’s complexity, the parties’ willingness to settle, the court’s caseload, and procedural rules, also affect a class action’s duration.

 So how long does a class action lawsuit take? We cannot say how long with any precision. The answer depends on each case’s unique dynamics, and the following components can significantly impact its timeline.

The Action’s Legal Complexity

Resolving complicated legal issues can take a long time, especially when plaintiffs and defendants make arguments and counter-arguments that require the court to consider multiple legal precedents and statutes.

The Size and Scope of the Class

Certifying larger classes with numerous plaintiffs may take several months to a year.

Larger classes also present time-management challenges with communications, coordinating legal strategies, and conducting extensive discovery processes.

They could also hold up a settlement, as negotiations often require extra time to address all class member’s interests and concerns.

Discovery and Investigation

Discovery involves examining thousands of documents, careful investigations, expert testimonies, and deposing witnesses.

This phase typically lasts several months to three years but could take longer in complex cases.  

Settlement Negotiations

The plaintiffs’ or defendants’ legal teams or a neutral third party will try to facilitate settlement negotiations.

Depending on the type of case, the parties’ willingness to cooperate, and the number of issues at stake, the settlement process can span months to a year.

Court Approval

Once parties settle, the court must approve it. During this phase, the court may ask for additional documentation, conduct fairness hearings, and request input from class members.

This approval process can also introduce other delays depending on the court’s schedule and workload.

Going to Trial

If the case goes to trial, it can last several more months. After trial, potential appeals could draw the timeline out even further, sometimes by years.

Workplace Rights Law Group Can Help

If you have questions about a class action timeline or are interested in discussing a class action lawsuit, Workplace Rights Law Group’s compassionate advocates have nearly 100 years of combined work experience.

We reject garden-variety lawyering and are here to address your unique concerns.

We’ve recovered millions for deserving employees victimized by discrimination, retaliation, unfair pay practices, workplace harassment, wrongful termination, and other workplace wrongs and will fight tirelessly for the justice you deserve.

Call us today at 818-334-6881 for a free case review.


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