Classes in Multidistrict Litigation: An Overview

Three Classes of consumers have recently been certified by a California federal court allowing plaintiffs to proceed with a Class Action lawsuit charging that Kellogg fraudulently advertises their cereals in violation of the federal Lanham Act. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh recently certified three classes in a Kellogg Class Action lawsuit that alleges the company fraudulently advertises their Raisin Bran cereal, Frosted Mini- Wheats, and Smart Start cereal as healthy even when they have large quantities of sugar. In doing so, the judge found that Kellogg was advertising their products in a manner that flippantly contradicts the nutrition facts that come on the back of each product package. The products also contain artificial coloring and sweeteners that do not meet the safe dietary requirements of the Lanham Act. Plaintiffs are seeking an amount for their past and future suffering as a direct result of Kellogg’s fraud.

Under the Class Action Lawsuit, three classes of consumers are suing the cereal giant, stating that they were injured as a result of deceptive and fraudulent advertising practices. The three categories of plaintiffs are those who used the Kellogg products as part of their diets, children who ingested the cereal without the child’s consent, and people who later became sick because of the added sugar content of Kellogg’s cereal. All of these groups claim financial and medical hardships as a result of Kellogg’s unethical marketing practices. While this class action lawsuit filed by the Class Action Lawsuit Fund was filed in January 2010, the plaintiffs had sufficient evidence to file their complaint earlier this year. Also, because the case is being handled by the Class Action Lawsuit Fund, it has a strong team of legal professionals working for the plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs will receive monetary awards based on the “perceived deprivation of a standard of living” as a result of their exposure to Kellogg’s products. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, the company will be ordered to pay financial damages to each class representative. Also, if the court rules against the defendants, then no one will receive monetary damages. The judge can decide the amount of damages based on the profitability of the company, past and present profits, and any other considerations. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, the company will be ordered to pay past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, special needs expenses, funeral expenses, and any other special damages that resulted from the defendant’s negligence.

Each individual suit has a different procedure in which it should be resolved. In a class action lawsuit, a single judgment may be issued and distributed to all class members. A summary judgment will be issued after the suit is resolved in order for the plaintiff to receive his or her award without the lengthy and complicated process of having to recoup one’s money through individual lawsuits. When an individual suit proceeds as a class action, class members are only entitled to monies based on their claims. It is also possible that a plaintiff may be awarded more than one settlement, depending upon the severity of his or her injuries and potential profitability of the case.

When class members opt to take a class action lawsuit, they must be careful of what type of settlements they are being offered. Class action lawsuits can settle for less than the true value of the injuries suffered, or may settle for far less than the damage the injuries have caused. Kellogg has proposed a 20 million dollar class action lawsuit, but this does not account for all of the cases that have been resolved with this amount. If a person is injured by Kellogg, he or she can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other related costs.

If you have been injured by Kellogg, it is best to contact a qualified personal injury attorney to help determine if a Kellogg class action lawsuit is the right route to take. Many attorneys who work on a class action basis will take a fee based on the potential monetary compensation awarded to the lead plaintiff and all of the class members. The lead plaintiff will sign the documents required by the law firm of his or her attorney. The paperwork will then be turned over to a multidistrict litigation support company, who will serve as the facilitator between the lead plaintiff and his or her potential settlement. This legal support company will also be responsible for keeping track of and monitoring the settlement agreement between the lead plaintiff and his or her attorneys.

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