The difference between an individual and class-action lawsuit can be significant for a business. What few business owners realize, however, is that every case begins as an individual case and only later does a court decide whether or not to certify the case as a class action. The question that class action defense attorneys have long considered is whether it possible to pay the named plaintiff’s individual claim and resolve the entire case before the issue of class certification is even considered. This tactic, known as a “pick off,” has been attempted for decades. Although a number of states have rejected the effectiveness of this tactic, Illinois has long been an outlier. Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court revisited its previous pick-off jurisprudence to clarify that a defendant can successfully pick off a named plaintiff in Illinois by “tendering” full relief before a motion for class certification has been filed.
According to the Illinois Supreme Court, tendering full relief entails paying the full amount demanded into the court’s registry, agreeing to pay the plaintiff’s reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, and effectively admitting liability. If there is injunctive or other non-monetary relief sought, the defendant may have to agree to that relief unconditionally as well. Continue reading ›