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Car Lost in Shipping? How to Join a Lawsuit

A pair of attorneys based in Georgia have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Defense Department contractor responsible for shipping service member's cars to and from overseas bases. And if your car is one of the thousands late being delivered and potentially lost in the tracking system, you may want to join them.

According to documents filed with the court, the attorneys estimate that the cost to service members for their cars being late or physically damaged is more than $10 million. And while that may seem like a lot, especially since the shipping company, International Auto Logistics (IAL)  is supposed to be paying rental car costs, consider all the other hidden costs to not having your own car, including your time.

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If you want to read about the nuts and bolts of the lawsuit plus some new information from the DoD about exactly how many cars are missing, go here to read my Military.com news story.

If your car is missing and you want to think about join the suit, here's some information. For the record, I am not a lawyer or, more importantly YOUR lawyer, so don't take legal advice from me. Just use this as information. Also: I've seen some warnings out there that the real winners in a class-action suit are the attorneys. Again, I'm not one so I'm not standing here handing out legal advice. But I would suggest that you get some before you make a decision about joining or not joining.

How to join the class-action lawsuit against International Auto Logistics:

How a class-action lawsuit works: The attorneys who are doing this have six "named class representatives," people who are named and their situation and case explained in the court documents, which were filed last week. Next they need a judge to certify the class. That means the judge says that, yes, there is enough of a problem here that it would be better if everyone sued the plaintiff-- in this case IAL -- as a group. If the judge says "no," then the attorneys plan to offer to help potential clients sue IAL individually. Anything with courts moves slowly, so it be awhile before a decision is made on the class vs. individual.

So you want to be a part of it? Here's how: The folks who are "named class representatives" have already been decided, since they are on the court documents that have already been filed. But the attorneys still want to collect as many IAL problem stories as possible. They have developed a complaint form that you can file out here with details of why you want to be involved.

Now you wait. Like I said above, stuff like this takes time ... sometimes a long time. The attorneys have promised to keep this page updated with progress of the suit.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

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