A class action lawsuit is when a plaintiff sues a defendant on behalf of a larger group of people. This happens because sometimes there are too many individual parties involved in the suit to be brought together in one location at the same time, and so one person represents the group in the claim. Typically, a class action lawsuit is between a consumer who represents all consumers and a corporation.
When large lawsuits like this happen in our country, sometimes they can affect our laws because the issue had a negative impact that prompts the need for regulation in that area. Here are three examples of when class action lawsuits have made laws safer.
Recently, we’ve seen a class action lawsuit in the news about JUUL E-Cigarettes. The lawsuit claims that the company was marketing the e-cigarettes as healthier and safer than regular cigarettes as well as using flavors like mango to appeal to a younger audience, especially minors. TIME published an article explaining the controversy surrounding JUUL, including that it is believed that some pods were contaminated and contributed to the lung disease cases seen in the media.
Now, with tighter FDA regulations, e-cigarette manufacturers have to apply for FDA approval by May 2020 in order to stay on the market, and they must prove that their device is a benefit to public health rather than a harm. They also are not allowed to market toward the youth anymore.
In response to all of this, the United States raised the age to buy tobacco products to 21 in an attempt to make it even harder for minors to get the products. Although this law only bars minors from legally purchasing the products, it still makes the United States safer because it makes it harder for children to access harmful products like e-cigarettes.
Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Back in 1998, The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) changed the tobacco market in the United States very similarly to the e-cigarette dispute happening right now in our country. Prior to the 90s, tobacco companies marketed their products openly toward kids and young adults.
The states and policymakers came together against major tobacco in the MSA to hold them accountable for smoking-caused illnesses that affected 16 million Americans. Not only did they reach a large settlement, but programs were created to reduce smoking in the U.S., and later laws were passed to limit tobacco advertisement and sponsorship.
Another harm to the general public that spurred a class action lawsuit was concussions and related protocols in contact sports. The class action lawsuit was filed against the National Football League (NFL) because many football players experience head trauma that results in them developing brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s much earlier than the average age when these are typically developed.
Researchers found that the frequent head injuries led to a problem called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which leads to serious cognitive defects in those affected. The first lawsuit against the NFL was filed in 2011, and after the lawsuit, changes in rules and laws in the NFL and all contact sports were soon to follow.
While rule changes in the NFL required concussion spotters specifically watching for potential head injuries in play, the ramifications trickled down to youth sports as well. According to SHAPE America, all 50 states require athletes, coaches, and all those involved with youth sports to be educated on concussions and the protocol for how to handle an athlete with a concussion.
Nearly all states require an athlete to sit out after a suspected concussion, and all states require clearance before returning to physical activity. Though requirements are not constant across the entire United States, there are still many newer laws in place to screen for concussions and ensure brain health is a large concern in sports from here on out.
Bey & Associates, LLC Can Help You
After an injury that wasn’t your fault, you might not know who to turn to. At Bey & Associates, LLC, our experienced personal injury lawyers can support you through this tough time in your life and guide you through your case. We will help you fight for compensation so that your medical bills, lost wages, and other costs of your recovery are covered, and you can focus on healing. Contact us today so we can discuss your potential claim.