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What Is Class Certification?

July 1, 2014 Legal Team

Class action lawsuits indicate a lawsuit in which there are multiple plaintiffs against a common defendant with common claims in the law. The most publicized class action lawsuits usually take place in consumer safety and employment law. Regardless of the law that roots the lawsuit, a class action case must undergo what is called “class certification.”

Whether filed in state or federal court there are strict procedures that all people involved, judges, attorneys, plaintiffs, defendants, etc., must follow. Certification, in particular, is one of the first steps to achieve a successful class-action lawsuit.

The first requirement to reach certification is to prove that the proposed class is “ascertainable”, meaning an examination of class definition, estimated class size, and methods of identifying class members. (i.e. women who used a certain kind of birth control throughout 2011-2013 that will be reached via television advertisements).

Second, there must be a “well-defined community of interest in the questions of law and fact involved in the case” as defined by the California Code of Civil Procedure section 382. This requirement ensures that the claims set forth by the plaintiff are representative and typical of the class and whether that plaintiff can sufficiently represent the class. Furthermore, the plaintiff and counsel must prove that a class action lawsuit is the best method of handling the case, an alternative to individual litigation.