Class Action Lawsuits in Colorado

Class Action Lawsuits in Colorado are legal actions in which:

  • one or more representatives
  • represent a "class" of plaintiffs
  • with similar legal claims.

The Court Process

Once a class action is filed, the court determines whether the class action meets the requirements set by Colorado law. Both parties file motions to approve or contest approval of the class.

Once a class certification is granted or denied, the case can be appealed to the appellate court. The parties have 14 days in which to file an appeal. Absent an appeal, the case either moves forward if the class was certified or ends if it was denied.

Choosing Whether to Opt Out of the Class

A person who is a part of the class will be given notice through the mail. At this point, the class member has the choice to "opt out" of the class.

A person who opts out of the class will not be a part of the lawsuit, and his or her rights will not be individually determined by that lawsuit.

Below, our Colorado personal injury attorneys address frequently asked questions about class actions in personal injury lawsuits:

Class action lawsuit

1. What is a class action lawsuit in Colorado?

Class Action Lawsuits in Colorado are lawsuits where:

  • one or more individuals;
  • represent a "class" of injured plaintiffs;
  • with identical or similar legal claims.[1]

1.1 How does this type of lawsuit get started?

Any potential injured party, or plaintiff, can initiate a class action in Colorado. He or she must first file a lawsuit and move for certification of the class.

The court will then decide whether to approve the class based on certain criteria.

2. What factors are considered to determine whether to certify a class?

For a class action to be approved, it must meet certain minimum requirements:

  • the class must be so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
  • there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
  • the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the entire class; and
  • the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

If these requirements are not proven by a preponderance of the evidence, the class will not be approved.2

2.1 What additional factors are considered?

If the court finds the class meets the four requirements above, the court will also consider whether:

  • there is a risk of inconsistent judgments with individual claims;
  • adjudication of the class representative's claim would resolve the claims of the class;
  • the common questions of law predominate over individual issues;
  • the desirability of concentrating the action into one.3

These additional considerations are only used if the class meets the first requirements. These are often subjective, but with experienced legal counsel the class can be successfully argued for certification.

3. What is the court process for considering a certification?

The court decides whether the requirements to meet a class action are met by a particular group of potential plaintiffs.

Once a class is certified or certification is denied, the decision can be appealed. The parties have 14 days in which to file an appeal or the case either moves forward or ends, depending on whether the class was certified.

If the case proceeds to trial, the court will handle it much like any other Colorado personal injury case, but with the understanding that the representative is acting on behalf of the entire class.[4]

4. Am I allowed to "opt out" of the class action lawsuit in Colorado?

A person who is a part of the class will be given notice through the mail. At this point, the class member has the choice to "opt out" of the class.

This means that the person who opts out:

  • will not to be a part of the litigation;
  • will not be awarded anything from the trial or settlement;
  • can choose to file an individual lawsuit.5

4.1 Can I file an individual lawsuit?

If a person chooses to opt out of the class, he or she can file an individual lawsuit. The lawsuit handles only the interests of the individual who filed it, not multiple parties.

Choosing whether to opt out depends on your specific situation. If you want to individually pursue damages against a wrongful party, you can do so. Or, you can choose to remain in the class, which means that you will receive your portion of whatever the class receives.

This also means that if the class is awarded nothing or an amount you believe to be insufficient, you will be unable to file a separate lawsuit after the fact.

Call us

Call us for help...

For questions about class actions in personal injury cases or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled Colorado personal injury attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us. For cases in California or Nevada, please see our pages on class action lawsuits in California and class action lawsuits in Nevada.

We represent clients in and around Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, and several nearby cities.


Legal References

  1. 4 COPRAC R 23 (Class Actions).
  2. 4 COPRAC R 23(a).
  3. 4 COPRAC R 23(b)
  4. 5A COPRAC 3:9.
  5. Same as 3.

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