Class action lawsuits are an important part of the American legal system because they can hold businesses accountable for unfair or illegal practices. Recently a class action lawsuit was filed against the Chicago Athletic Clubs when the organization cancelled its member rewards program with no notice to members and without giving its members an option to redeem their points for things like free passes for a friend, 30-minute personal training sessions, and physical therapy. CBS Chicago did a story on the case, available here: https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/07/31/chicago-athletic-clubs-targeted-in-class-action-lawsuit/
At first glance, one might think Chicago Athletic Club’s action is no big deal, that it’s just a rewards program and that it’s the company’s prerogative if they want to discontinue the program. Some might believe that this isn’t grounds for a lawsuit, and just an example of how increasingly litigious our country has become. But consider this: each member of Chicago Athletic Clubs signed a contract with the club understanding that they would receive certain benefits in exchange for paying their monthly dues. By cancelling the member rewards program with no notice and no compensation to members, Chicago Athletic Clubs violated this contract. The class action lawsuit, if successfully litigated, would make sure that Chicago Athletic Clubs pays a penalty for violating the contract. The very possibility of a class action lawsuit helps to discourage companies from violating contracts in the first place. What’s more, the class action lawsuit ensures that everyone who is wronged by the Chicago Athletic Clubs would be compensated, not just those who bring the lawsuit. This characteristic of class action lawsuits makes them both fair and democratic, offering a similar outcome to all those who have been the victim of injustice.