Class Actions and Direct Mailing Lists


Direct mail is an extremely common way plaintiffs’ lawyers notify and obtain additional clients for large group litigations; however, this method is fraught with legal problems, as illustrated in a recent New York case. The judge’s ruling could have huge implications for future lawsuits and both plaintiff and class action defense attorneys are closely watching.

The case arose out of a Hepatitis A outbreak at a New York restaurant. The outbreak occurred between October 12 and October 23, 2017 and received significant media exposure. As the case was covered widely in the news, many nearby residents rushed to receive Hepatitis vaccines to protect themselves. Several plaintiffs suing the restaurant for exposing them to Hepatitis A have asked the judge overseeing the litigation to mail notifications to potential plaintiffs. Specifically, the mailing list seeks to contact over 3,000 people who received hepatitis vaccines after a public-health warning about the outbreak involving food or beverages served at the restaurant.

The restaurant has asked the judge to block the plaintiffs from utilizing direct mail. The restaurant points out that using a vaccination list would be a huge violation of privacy laws and has asked the judge to protect patients’ privacy. Furthermore, the restaurant pointed out that the Health Department didn’t screen people who received a vaccine to determine if they actually ate or drank at the restaurant in question, meaning individuals on the mailing list might not even be eligible to join the growing class action.

Whether or not plaintiffs will be allowed to utilize direct mail will have a huge impact on the litigation. Direct mail is a favored tactic by plaintiffs’ lawyers because it allows them to reach a large audience at a lower price point, but direct mail can often be misused at the expense of the defense. Direct mail can target too broad of an audience and lead to plaintiffs with questionable eligibility, which is not only unfair to the defense, but also slows down the litigation and increases costs.

Attorneys For Class Action Defense

Without an experienced class action defense attorney, class actions can quickly spiral out of control. As seen in the Hepatitis A outbreak lawsuit in New York, plaintiffs’ attorneys need to be checked by knowledgeable class action defense attorneys. At MehaffyWeber, our class action defense attorneys know the law and know how to combat plaintiffs’ attorneys’ attempts to use direct mailing lists to expand litigations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our award-winning attorneys.