how much do lead plaintiffs get in class action lawsuit

A lead plaintiff’s award in a class-action lawsuit isn’t universal or fixed. Instead, a lead plaintiff’s compensation depends on several factors, including the specific case details, the class size, and the court presiding over the case. Lead plaintiffs sometimes receive a higher percentage of class settlements as part of their compensation package or as an ‘incentive’ award than other class members.

This award structure compensates lead plaintiffs for their time and their effort. However, when seeking answers to the question, How much do lead plaintiffs get in class action lawsuits? keep in mind that while lead plaintiffs often receive increased compensation based on their added responsibilities or extra efforts, there are no guarantees.

Keep reading to learn more about the lead plaintiff in an employment class action suit, their duties, and what, if any, rights they have to a larger portion of the class-action settlement. If you have any questions, contact us today.

What Is a Class Action Lead Plaintiff?

In class-action litigation, the lead plaintiff, or in some cases multiple lead plaintiffs, assumes the role of class representative and actively engages with the case from start to finish.

A lead plaintiff is the lawsuit’s public face; they advocate for a broader group allegedly affected by the defendant’s purported misconduct. In other words, the lead plaintiff’s personal experiences closely align with those of the entire “class” the lawsuit covers.

Lead plaintiffs shoulder additional responsibilities throughout various phases of the suit—from the initial filing to potential settlement negotiations—distinguishing themselves from other class members who primarily sit on the sidelines.

Because they do so much of the work, lead plaintiffs often also receive what’s known as an ‘incentive award,’ which frequently amounts to a larger piece of the class action pie. This arrangement compensates lead plaintiffs for their essential role in advocating for the collective interests of the class and making significant contributions to the case’s progress.

What Are a Class-Action Lead Plaintiff’s Responsibilities?

The lead plaintiff initiates the class action; it is the lead plaintiff’s responsibility to seek legal representation and file the lawsuit. Typically, and with some exceptions, a lead plaintiff is also the only class member involved in the class throughout a class-action case.

Once the court certifies the class and gives it the green light to proceed with the lawsuit, the lead plaintiff will work closely with the attorney handling the case. This collaboration involves regular consultations and discussions to ensure that the legal strategy and course of action align with the class’s interests.

The attorney provides guidance and advice about the best legal approach to take, and the lead plaintiff gives input and feedback based on their understanding of the needs and concerns of the class members. The lead plaintiff may also participate in discovery, including gathering evidence through depositions, document requests, and other information-gathering tools. 

Throughout the process, the lead plaintiff plays an active role in hearings, trials, and other court proceedings, helping to shape the case and ensure that the class’s interests are well-represented. While being a lead plaintiff can be work, they also have the advantage of being able to consult closely with attorneys regarding settlement offers. They are the only party who may object to a settlement agreement.

How Much Money Do You Get from a Class Action Lawsuit?

If you’ve wondered, How much do lead plaintiffs get in class action lawsuits? you’re not alone. The answer is multi-faceted. As you’ve already read, the average person involved in a class action lawsuit doesn’t have to do as much as a lead plaintiff while waiting for a settlement. In most class action cases, class members only need to pay attention once the case settles and the claims process begins.

Conversely, a lead plaintiff does most of the work. For this reason, they often receive a more significant percentage of the settlement than other class members. This additional amount means lead plaintiffs typically receive the most money in a class-action lawsuit. However, there is no guarantee that the lead plaintiff will take home an extra share of the settlement.

Lead plaintiff class action lawsuit compensation depends on the type of case, the terms of the class agreement, and the court that hears the case. While an attorney usually requests an incentive award for the lead plaintiff, some districts allow large incentives, while others have struck them down. Ultimately, how much extra to award is at the court’s discretion. A court will typically consider the following factors:

  • The lead plaintiff’s level of involvement in the litigation;
  • The type of injury the class members suffered; and
  • The amount of money awarded to the class.

The court must approve all settlements, including additional money for legal expenses. Once it approves the settlement, the class action attorney drafts and finalizes the settlement agreement, ensuring it has all the agreed-upon incentive terms, if any, and is fair to the class.

Finally, after everyone in the class gets paid, a representative may secure as much as $100,00+ or as little as zero extra dollars. There are also occasions where after every class member gets their share, there aren’t enough settlement funds left to award the lead plaintiff anything additional.

Workplace Rights Law Group Your Employment Class Action Lawyers

Workplace Rights Law Group has extensive experience on both sides of the employment law aisle, equipping us to provide clients with winning strategies rooted in a deep understanding of employer tactics.

When it comes to class action suits, you can expect the same know-how and professionalism, plus the extra expertise it takes to win a suit of this size and nature. Our team of staunch yet empathetic employment attorneys comprises five committed lawyers with nearly 75 years of collective experience in employment law.

When you choose to work with us, you can count on an advocate who goes the extra mile to grasp your claim’s distinctive nuances and objectives. Better still, our law firm limits the caseload we take on to offer personalized attention and tailored strategies, ensuring we’ll never treat you like just another case number. Contact us today and take advantage of our complimentary case reviews.

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