Tuesday, December 18, 2007

“Certification Process in A Class Action Lawsuit”

We all know that class action lawsuits are related lawsuits bundled together by common cause against a common defendant. In a way, class action lawsuits help unburden courts of working on too many individual lawsuits and save the court its precious time and effort.
But before becoming a class action lawsuit, there are certain requirements and conditions set by law which determine whether cases can be treated collectively in a class action lawsuit. To determine this, individuals in a lawsuit must file a certification request with the court, which will either certify a case, or not.
In California, the court requires that the four elements must be present as provided by Rule 23 (a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to certify a case as a class action lawsuit.
The four elements required are:
  1. if the class is so numerous that “joinder” of all members is impractical
  2. when there are questions of law and fact common to the class
  3. when the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class
  4. when the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interest of the class.
Another thing, the court also set three conditions, one of which must be satisfied to get an approval in certification. These are:
  1. the prosecution of separate actions would create a risk of: (a) inconsistent or varying adjudications or (b) individual adjudications dispositive of the interests of other members not a party to those adjudications; the party opposing the class has acted or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the class;
  2. the questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members,
  3. and a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.