How Many People Constitute a Class Action Lawsuit?

You only need a single ‘class representative’ in order to file a lawsuit on behalf of a putative class. But, you can not do this without a lawyer, because you can not legally serve as the ‘attorney-of-record’ for the absent class members and you wouldn’t be an adequate attorney to represent the class members. Nonetheless, there really is no bright line test to how many people must be in the class, but the general rule is the fewer the members of the putative class, it is more unlikely that it will be certified as a ‘class action lawsuit’. It’s been shown that it’s extremely difficult to win a ‘class action lawsuit’ with less than 30 class members.

To clarify, you only need one person to start a ‘class action lawsuit’, but for the court to certify it as a ‘class action lawsuit’, which is the court saying that your case actually can proceed as a ‘class action’, you have to have what the law calls ‘numerosity’. This means you have to have enough people who have been affected by the legally wrong act to make it more convenient for the court to treat it as an ‘all-in-one’ case instead of having each person file their own lawsuit.

Often, the quantity depends on the court, the state, the case and the circumstances. In a few states, there are cases that have given a general guideline, like in Ohio, a ‘class action lawsuit’ has to be at least 40 people, but in most of the other states, there is no specific number; it just depends on the circumstances of the case. Class action cases can be extremely difficult for the attorney to handle, and they can take an enormous amount of time to get through the courts to get settled. A majority of ‘class action lawsuits’ get settled without ever having gone to trial.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 at 5:40 pm and is filed under Class Action Information, Legal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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