In Bell, taxpayers were illegally charged property taxes in violation of state law. But recouping those unscrupulously gotten gains hasn’t been easy. Until a recent Supreme Court Ruling, taxpayers were unable to band together in a class action suit. That meant that each individual who was overcharged would be responsible for filing their own lawsuit.

But the state Supreme Court changed that on Monday, as they overturned a ruling from the Los Angeles court, enabling class-action lawsuits.

Typically, an individual is only slighted small amounts, making it unlikely that they would go through the hassle of filing their suit and seeing it to its conclusion. However, small amounts taken from thousands or tens of thousands of individuals adds up, making it more likely for a suit to be filed.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The state Supreme Court made it easier Monday for California taxpayers to seek refunds from cities and counties, ruling that a claim of an illegal local tax can be pursued as a class action on behalf of everyone who was overcharged.

The unanimous decision in a Los Angeles case overturned lower-court rulings requiring local taxpayers to file individual refund claims.

In a class action, a representative can win damages that are distributed to an entire group of people affected by the same unlawful action. Class-action status often determines whether a tax can be effectively challenged, said Paul Heidenreich, a lawyer for consumer organizations in the case.

Read the full article here.