Class action lawsuits are civil actions brought on behalf of a group of people who have all suffered common injuries as the result of another party’s misconduct, and at least one person will act as the representative of the group. Even though the issues in a class action could vary, the issues in dispute will be common to all class members, and class actions may be brought in either state or federal court.
A class action lawsuit is usually beneficial for both the plaintiffs and the courts, as a single case can provide an award for all of the plaintiffs to share while also allowing a court to decide a single lawsuit rather than having to entertain multiple claims. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 23(a) establishes that one or more members of a class can sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all members only when the class is so large that joinder of all members would be impracticable, there are questions of law or fact common to a class, the claims or defenses of representative parties are typical of claims or defenses of a class, and representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 23(b) states that a class action can be maintained when Rule 23(a) is satisfied and prosecuting separate actions by or against individual class members creates a risk of inconsistent or varying adjudications. Final injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief is appropriate respecting a class as a whole, or a court finds that the questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating a controversy.
Matters pertinent to these findings include the class members’ interests in individually controlling the prosecution or defense of separate actions, the extent and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already begun by or against class members, the desirability or undesirability of concentrating the litigation of the claims in the particular forum, and the likely difficulties in managing a class action.
Common kinds of class actions often relate to:
If you think that you might have an issue that could be ideal for a class action lawsuit, you will want to retain legal counsel for help determining how to file your claim. Olivier & Schreiber, LLP understands how complicated class actions can be for most people, but we walk you through the entire process and help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case.
Our firm is prepared to handle cases in state and federal courts, and we know how to help organize class members. You can contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation with our San Francisco class action attorney.
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