A class action is a lawsuit brought by one or more individuals on behalf of a group of people who have suffered similar harm from the actions of a common defendant. The individuals serve as class representatives in the class-action lawsuit and represent the interests of the entire class. Their claims must arise from circumstances common to the other class members.
Initiating a Class Action
A class action is initiated by filing a lawsuit against a defendant on behalf of a specific class of persons. The lawsuit is brought by one or more individual class representatives. After the lawsuit is filed, the court determines whether the case may be brought as a class action―a process known as “class certification.” During class certification, attorneys for the plaintiff request that the court approve the use of a class action and define who should be included as member of the class. In doing so, federal courts consider the following factors:
- Commonality – The plaintiff must demonstrate that there are questions of fact and law common to every class member. This commonality requirement is satisfied when the plaintiff shows that the defendant engaged in conduct that affected the entire class.
- Numerosity – The plaintiff must demonstrate that the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, and that class members can be identified using specific criteria.
- Typicality – The plaintiff must demonstrate that their individual claims are typical of the claims of the entire class. This typicality requirement is satisfied when the plaintiff’s claims arise from the same conduct giving rise to the claims of the other class members.
- Adequacy – The plaintiffs in a class action must demonstrate that they will adequately and fairly protect the interests of the class. This means being able and willing to take an active role in the litigation in order to protect the interest of the other class members.
If these requirements are not met, the court will not certify the class, and the case cannot proceed as a class action. If the class is certified, however, the defendants may appeal the certification decision to an appellate court.
Class Action Legal Representation in Texas
Our Texas class-action litigation attorneys are experienced in initiating and litigating class actions. The firm’s success in handling class actions has been publicized in leading legal publications. For more information about class-action representation, please contact our team of experienced Texas attorneys at (713) 860-1600.