We recently received the following comment from one of our users:
“My story exactly mirrors many of the other innocent people on this website. I see all the talk about wishing and wanting to do a class action lawsuit but no action. My suggestion is to use social media to our greatest advantage. If everyone starts to make mini videos and start posting them on YOUTUBE, Facebook, etc… they will start to go viral and demand the attention we need to file this suit and win. We should also start mailing in letters to our local news station to prompt media attention. All it takes is a few strong will people to bring light to this situation through the right source. Social media, news, YouTube videos from the thousands of Westgate owners taken advantage of. Then and only then will we all start to make some real progress and retrieve our money back. Let’s take a STAND!!”
We realize there may be some frustration among timeshare owners who believe they were taken advantage of. Many of you may wish to join a class action lawsuit against a particular resort, but don’t know where to start. While you might feel better by expressing your thoughts and spreading the word on social media, the only way to truly receive retribution in your situation is to file a class action suit. Below we will outline the basics of class action lawsuits and how you might be able to get involved if you feel so inclined.
What It Is
A class action is a lawsuit in which many plaintiffs who have suffered the same or similar injury sue one responsible party. This is the best option when there are too many potential plaintiffs to include everyone in a standard personal injury lawsuit. One or a few plaintiffs act as representatives for the entire group (lead plaintiffs), working closely with the attorneys on the case. The other potential plaintiffs are usually only contacted so that they can choose whether or not they wish to opt out or to be instructed on how to receive their share of a damages reward.
If a defendant settles the case or loses the trial, everyone who was victimized by the defendant’s fraudulent tactics is given a percentage of the damages or, if it is too difficult to identify and contact all of the “victims,” a fund is made available to provide damages to anyone who can demonstrate they were harmed by the defendant’s actions.
How To File
Due to the complex nature of a class action suit, the best way to go about filing is to hire an experienced class action attorney. If you or someone else with little to no legal experience tries to file a class action suit without an attorney, you will likely become overwhelmed by the process. If you really want to win your case, it is wise to consider hiring an attorney. While there is no specific number of people required to file a class action suit, there are generally around 30 people who believe they have suffered similar injuries in order for the suit to be practical and cost-effective.
It is also worthwhile to note that the lead plaintiff is not responsible for paying the attorney(s) fees or legal expenses. Class action attorneys take cases on contingent fee agreements and take their fees and pay expenses when they win or settle the case. Also be aware that a judge must approve a class action suit and certify the class before it progresses. The judge must confirm that the case meets the requirements of a class action suit and then must formally certify it as a class action lawsuit before it can move forward.
How To Join
In most class action cases, you don’t have to do anything to join a suit. The attorneys will typically try to find everyone who they believe may have been affected by the defendant’s actions and notify them via mail that they’re part of the lawsuit. Members of the class can then choose to opt out if they want to file a separate lawsuit. If you think you have been overlooked in a class action, however, the best thing to do is to check the legal notices in your local newspaper or search online for information regarding the suit. You should be able to find the names of attorneys associated with the suit and request to be added to the class.
So, the first thing to do would be to search and see if you can find a similar class action suit that already exists against your resort. If so, you may be able to join that suit. If not, you might consider starting your own. Identify a few people who are willing to be the lead plaintiffs in the case to approach an attorney to file a suit on behalf of your class. Your attorney will be able to answer any further questions in more detail as the procedure proceeds. If you have luck in filing a class action suit against your timeshare resort, please let us know and we will keep the RCIVIP community in the loop.