Class-action lawsuits in California are encouraged for the advancement of public policy goals.
A group of individuals files a class-action lawsuit to resolve a complaint they share against an employer. There are some differences between class-action requirements in California and those for filing a federal class-action lawsuit. The assistance of experienced class-action attorneys is essential to navigating this type of claim.
What Is a Class-Action Lawsuit?
A class-action lawsuit is a lawsuit filed by an individual or small group on behalf of a larger group, commonly referred to as “the class.” Class-action lawsuits allow for the resolution of common disputes among parties where it would be impractical to join all the individuals harmed.
What Are the California Class-Action Lawsuit Requirements?
Any aggrieved party can initiate a class-action lawsuit in California. The initial step for filing a class-action is to file the lawsuit and then move for certification as a class.
The Code of Civil Procedure Rule 382 governs the legitimacy of a class-action lawsuit in California.
To certify a class, the representatives must establish that a class of plaintiffs shares a “community of interest.” In California, the existence of a “community of interest” depends on the following factors:
- Predominant common questions of law or fact;
- Class representatives with claims or defenses typical of the class; and
- Class representatives that adequately represent the class.
The plaintiff in the class-action must also establish that the claims’ resolution would substantially benefit the aggrieved class.
Once certified, the class-action lawsuit may then move forward. Potential members of the class are provided with legal notice of the claim. Legal notice provides the class’s potential members with facts regarding the class-action lawsuit and information about the rights of each member of the class.
Potential members may choose not to be part of the class. The class-action notice provided to potential members will provide the procedure for opting out. However, opting out of the class requires action. Terms or decisions in the class-action are binding on members of the class. Consequently, individuals choosing not to be a member in the class-action may file an individual lawsuit.
What Are the Requirements for a Federal Class-Action Lawsuit?
Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs federal class-action lawsuits. The federal rule does not provide an exact number for a qualified class. A class must be large enough that joining all the individual class members is unfeasible. It also must be clear to the federal court that it would not be possible for all plaintiffs to bring their own claims against the defendant separately.
Federal courts look to the following factors to determine whether joinder, or the bringing together, of all plaintiffs would be impracticable, including the following:
- The ease of locating plaintiffs;
- The relative size and similarity of claims; and
- The geographical distance between plaintiffs.
40 or more plaintiffs have consistently satisfied the numerosity requirement even though the federal rule is silent on the specific number needed to satisfy this rule.
While a potential plaintiff is not required to pursue a class-action, contacting the experienced team of class-action attorneys at Workplace Rights Law Group is the right first step in assessing and protecting your rights.
Workplace Rights Law Group never employs cookie-cutter strategies to resolve client issues. They recognize that each client’s story is unique and deserves their customized approach and analysis.
To learn how our attorneys can help you determine your California class-action requirements, contact us today!