Class action lawsuits, can the originator win a significant amount?

I often see these lawsuits where the pay out is $10 or $20 in useless merchandise or check payout. Lets say you are one to make a lawyer aware of some injustice. Do you get a significant finders fee of sorts?

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I’m sure it depends.

Here’s my sample size of 1 story:
I was part of a class action against my old employer (the city). My profession had a union, but I live in a right to work state and there is no collective bargaining for local gov employee unions, so it didn’t call itself a union. I and most of my co-workers were not part of the union. Some members of the union brought to the attention of a labor law attorney that we were getting fleeced out of a 30 min lunch break. Long story short, the city settled and everyone that signed on (lots of guys not in the union) got a calculated amount based on how many days we had worked since a statute of limitations date (I think). The guys in the union that spearheaded the whole thing got a little more (like maybe $1k each, if that much). We may have had to vote on that, but I don’t remember. But if we did, it passed. Everyone that participated was happy with the law firm that handled it. I don’t think their cut was that big either. The class was 300-500 people. The guys that didn’t join the class were offered a settlement based on the same calculation and had to sign something saying they wouldn’t sue. If anyone sued separately, I never heard about it.


Yes, the lead plaintiff gets something more. Somewhere between what the lawyers get and what the other class members get - but much, much closer to the other class members. You won’t get rich from it.

Right now I have a class action claim I’m shopping for lawyers. Except I don’t have a clue where to even start shopping for such lawyers.


Do I have case here. Saw this NAPA Mobil 1 rebate, NAPA Mobil 1™ Filled out the online form and uploaded a copy of the NAPA receipt as shown below. Today I get a message from Mobil saying,

We regret to inform you that your claim has been declined.

Reason: Qualifying product not listed on invoice.
Action Required: No further action required.

Says the product not listed on invoice. Well, it’s the receipt I got from NAPA. It shows the part number for the oil, can’t they look that up? I’m guess this happened to thousands of others who just said, screw it. Saved Mobil a lot of money.

Is that what you sent them? It could be as simple as you not following instructions and circling the qualifying product.

The fact you got a response 2 weeks after making the purchase does indicate it’s a legit issue (even if just a technicality). If they’re trying to weasel out of paying, they let it sit a while so most people forget and dont even realize they were never paid.

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Yes, and the form didn’t say anything about circling, besides, it’s the only thing on the receipt.

This is right at the top of the T&C in the link you posted.

Limit one (1) rebate per household. Offer not valid on oil change services.

To redeem online:

  • Purchase Eligible Product(s) at a Participating Location during the Promotion Period; and
  • Take a photo of your sales receipt and complete the online offer form at Upload an image of your cash register receipt(s) dated during the Promotion Period from a Participating Location with Eligible Product(s) circled. All online submissions must be completed by 11:59:59 p.m. CST, June 7, 2021.
  • OR , visit and print the mail-in offer form. Print your name, address (no P.O. boxes except in ND and AK), city, state, zip code, daytime phone number (area code included) and valid email address on the mail-in offer form; and
  • Mail the original receipt(s) dated during the Promotion Period from a Participating NAPA Location with Eligible Product(s) circled along with completed mail-in offer form, postmarked by June 7, 2021 and received by June 21, 2021 to:

As I said, “technicalities”.

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NAPA part 122075 := " Mobil 1 European Car Formula Motor Oil 5W50 Full Synthetic Full Synthetic European Formula 1 qt (US)"

I don’t see that on the list :

“Eligible Mobil 1 product” includes Mobil 1™ Advanced Full Synthetic motor oil (5W-20, 5W-30 and 10W-30, 15W-50 viscosities), Mobil 1™ ESP (0W-20, 0W-30, 0W-40 and 5W-30 viscosities), Mobil 1™ High Mileage motor oil, Mobil 1™ Advanced Fuel Economy motor oil, Mobil 1™ Extended Performance motor oil, Mobil 1™ Extended Performance High Mileage motor oil, Mobil 1™ Truck & SUV motor oil, Mobil 1™ V-Twin motorcycle oil, and Mobil 1 Racing 4T™ motorcycle oil.

I don’t see “European Formula” listed.

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That’s what I get for just trusting he had a qualifying product.

I saw this NAPA flier, which says Get a $10 Mobil 1 VISA prepaid card when you buy 5 quarts of Mobil 1 oil. Below that where you click, Shop 1 Qt., it shows the 5W50. Now I see it’s not on the list. Why, I don’t know.

From what I’ve seen, lead plaintiff(s) usually get $5K each.


I think the amount a lead plantiff gets depends on the lawsuit and the actual damages. I vaguely recall reading the details on one of the major class actions that impacted millions of people and think the leads got $10k. I’m sure it is very YMMV


According to Merriam Webster, technicalities does not equal reading. :smile:

I am not a lawyer, but I have been the lead plaintiff in a class action suit and am happy to share my experience if you have any questions. I got a few grand for my time in detailing the issue, producing documents, sitting for a half-day deposition, and spending about ~14hr in a federal courthouse mediation. In the settlement, a few thousand people each got refunds for overcharges plus a few dollars in damages. The lawyers were able to recover their fees separate from the settlement fund; I thought their initial bill was ridiculously inflated, and the court knocked it down to something more reasonable; they definitely earned it for their effort and expertise.

The court filings for a class action often show how much the “lead plaintiffs” receive. Something in the range of $1-10k is what I usually see, depending on the size of the claim, number of lead plaintiffs, etc.

I would start with the National Association of Consumer Advocates directory of lawyers and see if you can find someone local who specializes in the appropriate type of case. That’s how I found the lawyers in my case.

You can also submit to Top Class Actions and they’ll shop it around for you. I like this site for finding settlements, though I have no first-hand experience using it to initiate a case.