Back in 2006, the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision that “decertified” the class of people who were suing big tobacco companies for the injuries they sustained after becoming addicted to cigarettes. The decertification of the class meant that individual plaintiffs were then permitted to pursue their claims against the tobacco companies alone, rather than as a part of a class action lawsuit.
When the court decertified the class, the lawyers in charge of representing these plaintiffs as a class, were now representing approximately ,500 individual plaintiffs.
Several hundred of these lawsuits were dismissed recently. The Winston-Salem Journal released a report recently that outlines why the judges in charge of these suits dismissed so many at one time. Much of it had to do with questionable lawyering.
There were several types of suits filed by one particular law firm in the wake of the class decertification. These suits could be broken down into several categories:
- Personal injury claims filed on behalf of dead smokers;
- Wrongful death claims filed by “survivors” of smokers still living;
- Multiple cases filed for the same person;
- Cases filed as a result of clerical errors;
- Cases that had already been resolved by another court;
- Cases filed on behalf of plaintiffs who didn’t want to pursue the cause of action; and
- Cases filed on behalf of plaintiffs whom the law firm had never spoken with.
Of course, each type of case described above is not an appropriate case. Therefore, the court dismissed hundreds of cases fitting into one or more of the above categories.
Every Client Is Important
The Court explained how it believed that such a lapse in representation could occur, noting that the law firm was inundated with thousands of clients and individual suits after the decertification. However, the court pointed out that just because a lawyer has a lot of clients, that is no excuse to provide anything less than the most diligent representation.
In the end, the court dismissed approximately 83% of all of the pending cases of this specific type.
The Importance of a Dedicated and Diligent Attorney
The above story indicates the importance of having skilled and diligent legal counsel throughout the process of your case. Some attorneys take on so many clients that they are unable to provide each new client or case with the care and attention that are needed. Here at the Dean Law Firm, we understand that our clients come first, no matter what. We have years of experience litigating all type of Florida personal injury cases, and we know what it takes to secure a victory for our clients. If you have been involved in a Florida accident, give us a call at 352-387-8700, and we will set up a consultation to discuss your case, free of charge.
More Blog Posts:
Tampa Bay Attorney Dies in Boating Accident, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 20, 2014.
Police Identify Hit-and-Run Driver Responsible for the Deaths of Three Single Mothers, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 31, 2014.