Few elections have seemed as contentious as the 2016 presidential contest. Beyond expected partisan bickering, both parties have been battling internal division and scandal in recent days.
The Democratic Party has seen a radical shake-up in leadership after WikiLeaks posted a dump of hacked party emails suggesting that top Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials worked to undermine the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders and promote the campaign of Hillary Clinton. In the wake of the leak, the DNC is now facing a class action lawsuit by donors and Sanders supporters.
The Class Action Allegations
The DNC announced in June 2016 that its servers had been hacked. Shortly thereafter, a number of sensitive party documents were released by hackers to the public. This was later followed by a massive public dump of emails that would lead to tumult within the Democratic Party.
The more than 20,000 DNC emails posted by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016 initiated a firestorm of protests against DNC leadership after it was learned that top staffers were allegedly conspiring to undermine Sanders’s presidential campaign and to use his religious beliefs against him.
The backlash culminated in the resignation of party chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz on July 24, 2016. However, that was far from the end of the story. Outrage has now moved to the courtroom, as focus has shifted to a class action lawsuit that was filed against DNC party leadership after the initial hacked documents became public.
According to a complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on July 13, 2016, the DNC “actively concealed its bias” against Sanders from donors and Sanders supporters, and violated its governing Charter by devoting resources to advancing the campaign of Hillary Clinton to the detriment of Sanders. The lawsuit cites a number of documents that surfaced before the email dump; it’s likely that the leaked emails will only add fuel to the fire.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of about 150 plaintiffs, most of whom are DNC donors, alleging fraud and negligent misrepresentation by the DNC. Hundreds of additional individuals have reportedly requested paperwork to join the lawsuit. The DNC and Schultz have moved to dismiss the complaint on procedural grounds.
Class actions are governed by very specific rules that set forth requirements that must be met in order for class status to be granted. Whether the plaintiffs in the DNC lawsuit can establish a common injury justifying class action treatment remains to be seen.
Consult an Experienced California Class Action Attorney
Class actions are a complex area of law and are subject to a set of strict procedural rules and requirements that must be met before they can proceed. If you’re contemplating bringing a class action lawsuit, it’s crucial to consult an experienced class action attorney to understand your options.
At McCuneWright, LLP, we have over twenty-five years handling class action lawsuits. Our dedicated attorneys are here to guide you through the class action process and answer any questions you may have. If you’re considering initiating or joining a class action lawsuit, contact us today for a free consultation.