Most civil claims filed in the court system involve one person or company seeking money damages against another. However, in some circumstances, these “one-on-one” lawsuits don’t work well. For example, sometimes widespread abuse on the part of a large corporation injures a group of individuals or multiple smaller businesses. Often the minimal size of loss to any one individual or business does not justify the time and expense of litigation. That’s when we look at a class action as a possible remedy.
What is a class action? It is the process of bringing a civil case in court by someone seeking to represent an injured group of individuals or small businesses. This representative brings the case individually and asks for court approval to prosecute on behalf of the group. The judge in the case decides whether to “certify” the case as a class action.
What are the certification factors used by the court? Certification requires numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy, predominance, and superiority.
- Numerosity means that the court will require a large number of potential class members who suffered from the alleged abuse.
- Commonality limits class actions to those putative class cases with claims having common legal and fact questions.
- Typicality further limits class actions to cases that are like others in the group.
- Adequacy measures the ability of the representative and lawyer(s) seeking to represent the class.
- Predominance requires that common issues will dominate over individual questions.
- Superiority dictates that the class action procedure fits the situation better than handling hundreds or thousands or more cases individually against the same opponent(s).
If the court grants certification, the representative gives notice to the class and goes forward with prosecuting the case. If the case succeeds, the court considers granting an incentive award to the class representative. The class action remedy is available to small businesses as well as individuals who have suffered a wrong. Campbell Claims Compensation represents a number of clients with pending class actions.
Copyright Campbell & McGrady 2019