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What Are the Requirements for a Class Action Lawsuit?

One of the biggest myths and misconceptions about class actions is that they are frivolous. This is a lie perpetuated largely by those who want to discourage consumers from holding large organizations accountable, or who want to spin public opinion in favor of those organizations.

In truth, class actions are a powerful tool that allows everyday people to seek justice for damages suffered due to the negligence of businesses, corporations, government bodies, and other such entities. To help maintain the integrity of the class action process, there are numerous criteria a case needs to meet before it can receive certification of class action status.

Kiesel Law is one of the most widely recognized and highly respected class action law firms today. We’ve helped countless plaintiffs receive just compensation through class action lawsuits. To help you better understand the class action certification process, below we’ll explain what the most important class action lawsuit requirements are, what they mean, and why they matter.

Class Action Requirements: 5 Essential Criteria

If you’re thinking about initiating a class action lawsuit, Kiesel Law is ready, willing, and able to stand by your side. Together, we can help make sure your case meets all the requirements for a class action lawsuit, including…

1. Numerosity

To receive certification of class action status, the proposed class must be numerous enough that individual lawsuits would be impractical. Courts do not specify a specific minimum number of class members, but the numerosity requirement generally requires that there be enough potential class members to make it more efficient to resolve their claims collectively.

  • Impracticality of Individual Lawsuits: The court must determine that pursuing separate lawsuits for each potential class member would be unreasonably time-consuming and burdensome for both the plaintiffs and the court system.
  • Factors Considered: Courts consider factors such as the total number of potential class members, the geographical dispersion of the class, and the financial resources available to individual class members.

2. Commonality of Legal and Factual Issues

Among the most fundamental of all class action criteria is the presence of common legal and factual issues among the potential class members. This means that the claims of the proposed class members must share common questions of law or fact that predominate over individual issues.

  • Common Legal Issues: Class members must have claims that involve similar legal theories or violations of the law. These legal issues should be shared by all potential class members.
  • Common Factual Issues: There should be common facts or circumstances underlying the claims. For example, if a group of consumers all purchased a defective product with the same defect, the factual issue of the defect would be common among them.
  • Predominance: The common legal and factual issues should predominate over any individual issues. In other words, the shared issues must be the most significant and central aspects of the case.

A lawyer shaking hands with a client after receiving class action certification

3. Typicality of Claims

Similar but separate to the class action requirement is the principle of claim typicality. That is, the claims of the named plaintiff or plaintiffs (those bringing the class action) must be typical of the claims of the proposed class members. In other words, the named plaintiffs’ claims must be substantially similar to those of the other class members.

  • Similar Claims: The named plaintiffs’ claims should involve the same legal theories and violations of law as the claims of the proposed class members.
  • No Conflicts of Interest: There should be no conflicts of interest between the named plaintiffs and the class members. The named plaintiffs should not have interests that are antagonistic to those of the class.

4. Adequacy of Representation

The court must ensure that the named plaintiffs and their attorneys can adequately represent the interests of the proposed class members. This involves an evaluation of the competence and commitment of the legal team and the willingness and ability of the named plaintiffs to act on behalf of the class. For this reason, it’s important to choose the right lawyer for your class action lawsuit.

  • Competent Legal Representation: The class should be represented by attorneys with the necessary experience and expertise in the relevant area of law.
  • Financial Resources: The legal team should have the financial resources to pursue the case effectively.
  • No Conflicts of Interest: There should be no conflicts of interest between the named plaintiffs and the class. The named plaintiffs should not have a personal interest in the outcome that differs from that of the class.

5. Certification Hearing

The final requirement for a class action lawsuit is for the plaintiffs to request a certification hearing. During this hearing, the court evaluates whether the proposed class meets all the necessary class action criteria. The plaintiffs must present evidence and arguments to demonstrate that their case qualifies as a class action.

  • Burden of Proof: It is the burden of the plaintiffs to prove that their proposed class satisfies the requirements for class action status.
  • Judge’s Decision: The judge presiding over the case will make a determination based on the evidence and arguments presented during the certification hearing.

Close-up of a legal document being stamped and certified

No One Knows Class Action Better Than Kiesel Law 

If you’re unsure about whether your potential lawsuit meets the above-described class action requirements, contact Kiesel Law. Our expert attorneys have a lifetime of experience preparing class action lawsuits for certification. We’ve helped countless plaintiffs receive positive outcomes for their claims, and we can do the same for you.