Organizing Class Action Suits (And Such Legal Papers)

Organizing Legal Papers at home

Class action suit legal paperwork comes in the mail far too often for my liking, especially since I am not a lawyer. Recently I, along with half of America, I suppose, got this notice from an insurance company and its lawyers.

So how do you process and organize your class action suits, annual reports for mutual funds and stocks, and other legal-looking stuff you might receive? Let’s organize that class action suit right now.

    • Some things are sent to you because of legal requirements, like class action suit notices, stock fund annual reports, and mutual fund and bond fund disclosures. That does not mean that you are legally or morally bound to read or act on them. It doesn’t make you a better person if you do. It doesn’t make you a worse person if you don’t. These documents were not created for YOU. They were mass produced, and likely do not relate to you all that much.


    • Give it a quick read-through right away. If you aren’t a lawyer, it’s not going to be all that interesting, but it should take you less than 2 minutes to figure out whether this matter really applies to you or not.


    • Determine if this requires action (not just a feeling of “maybe I should do something with this”). If you need to call, to mail, to find receipts, or similar, then write on your calendar when you will take these actions. Writing down your actions is the key to getting them done.


    • Once you take action (let’s say you decide to opt in to the suit and you return the form included with this particular suit), then make a file for this matter called, “Class Action Suit, Aetna, 2014), and file it in your regular household files.


    • The key to making this work is ACTION! If your action is just “to read”, you’re not really organizing yet, you’re just thinking about it. Chances are we’ll find this paperwork on your counter or dining room table in six months, long after the deadline for action has passed.


Honestly, after reading through this suit notice I received (which took about 5 minutes), I decided to take no action, and will recycle this particular class action notice. Although I might have technically met the criteria here, I don’t have any documentation to support this claim, I am not any worse off by NOT pursuing this suit, and I don’t really want to jump onto a legal suit that I didn’t initiate.

However, I can think of several clients who might truly fall into the affected class, and because they have chronic conditions, may have records to support this claim. Because they work with me, they may actually be able to find their medical receipts, tucked away with their tax records for the affected years. Then again, because this suit ranges all the way back to 2001, they might have purged some of those records (past the 7 or 10 year document retention period that many people follow).

The takeaway message is that MOST people can comfortably throw away this and many other class action suit notices. I did participate in one a few years back that yielded a $10 coupon for a product. Another one yielded a $300 payment that was warranted for fraudulent actions by a company I was involved with. But, after reviewing them, I’ve organize most of them into the “round file” over the years, and I haven’t lost any sleep over it. Isn’t that what you want? A more peaceful day and night, no matter what comes in the mail.

This post is part of my 31 days of 30-minute Organizing Projects. Be sure to subscribe for daily emails with projects you can complete in just a few minutes to start your New Year off right.


New Years organizing projects