The Basics Of Class Action Lawsuits

Posted over 3 years ago. Applies to New York, 1 helpful vote



What Is A Class Action Lawsuit?

Class action lawsuits can be brought under federal law or under New York State law. There is considerable misunderstanding as to what a class action is. Many persons think that just because there are a lot of people suing, that a lawsuit is a class action. That is not necessarily so. .A class action, unlike a regular lawsuit that simply has a lot of plaintiffs, is subject to an array of court rules and legal requirements To be a class action, the case has to be brought by one or more "named plaintiffs" on behalf of the entire class of plaintiffs. Only the named plaintiffs are specifically listed in the complaint and other documents concerning the lawsuit.


What factors make a class action appropriate?

There are four factors that are associated with class action lawsuits. These factors are known as numerosity; commonality; typicality, and adequacy.


What Is Numerosity?

Numerosity means that the number of class members is so numerous as to make joinder of all of them impracticable. Sometimes numerosity is satisfied with as few as 40 class members.


What Is Commonality?

Commonality means that there are common issues of law or fact and these common issues affect all class members. There must be at least one issue common to all class members.


What Is Typicality?

Typicality means that the claims of the class representatives (or named plaintiffs) are typical of the claims of the class. Typicality is satisfied when the claim of each class member arises from the same course of events and each class member has similar legal arguments to prove the liability of the defendant.


What Is Adequacy?

Adequacy is shorthand for "adequacy of representation," meaning that the representative plaintiffs will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the entire class. One part of this inquiry is whether there are any conflicts between the representative plaintiffs and the rest of the class.


What If There Are Differences Among the Class?

It depends on the nature and extent of those differences. Courts will often recognize subclasses that reflect those differences.


Does A Class Action Require More Judicial Supervision?

In a class action, the case must be "certified" by the court as a class action. Throughout the action, the court will get involved in supervising various aspects of the lawsuit.

Additional Resources

Law Offices of Michael S. Haber

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