This article is about the legal term. The class action originated in the United States and first party lawsuit michigan pdf still predominantly a U.

In a typical class action, a plaintiff sues a defendant or a number of defendants on behalf of a group, or class, of absent parties. This differs from a traditional lawsuit, where one party sues another party for redress of a wrong, and all of the parties are present in court. These lawsuits involved groups of people either suing or being sued in actions at common law. These groups were usually based on existing societal structures like villages, towns, parishes, and guilds.

Unlike modern courts, the medieval English courts did not question the right of the actual plaintiffs to sue on behalf of a group or a few representatives to defend an entire group. From 1400 to 1700, group litigation gradually switched from being the norm in England to the exception. By 1850, Parliament had enacted several statutes on a case-by-case basis to deal with issues regularly faced by certain types of organizations, like joint-stock companies, and with the impetus for most types of group litigation removed, it went into a steep decline in English jurisprudence from which it never recovered. Group litigation was essentially dead in England after 1850. However, Story did not necessarily endorse class actions, because he “could not conceive of a modern function or a coherent theory for representative litigation.

Equity Rule 48, promulgated in 1842. Where the parties on either side are very numerous, and cannot, without manifest inconvenience and oppressive delays in the suit, be all brought before it, the court in its discretion may dispense with making all of them parties, and may proceed in the suit, having sufficient parties before it to represent all the adverse interests of the plaintiffs and the defendants in the suit properly before it. But in such cases the decree shall be without prejudice to the rights and claims of all the absent parties. However, this rule did not allow such suits to bind similarly situated absent parties, which rendered the rule ineffective. Within ten years, the Supreme Court interpreted Rule 48 in such a way so that it could apply to absent parties under certain circumstances, but only by ignoring the plain meaning of the rule. A major revision of the FRCP in 1966 radically transformed Rule 23, made the opt-out class action the standard option, and gave birth to the modern class action.

Entire treatises have been written since to summarize the huge mass of law that sprang up from the 1966 revision of Rule 23. The Advisory Committee that drafted the new Rule 23 in the mid-1960s was influenced by two major developments. First was the suggestion of Harry Kalven, Jr. Maurice Rosenfield in 1941 that class action litigation by individual shareholders on behalf of all shareholders of a company could effectively supplement direct government regulation of securities markets and other similar markets.

The groups behind these movements, as well as many others in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, all turned to class actions as a means for achieving their goals. Rule 23 and mentioned “class actions” 14 times in its index. Businesses targeted by class actions for inflicting massive aggregate harm have sought ways to avoid class actions altogether. In the 1990s, the U. Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 preempts state laws that prohibit contracts from disallowing class action lawsuits, which will make it more difficult for consumers to file class action lawsuits. The dissent pointed to a saving clause in the federal act which allowed states to determine how a contract or its clauses may be revoked.

The court appoints the class representative when it certifies the lawsuit as a class action. The class representative must be able to represent the interests of all the members of the class, by being typical of the class members and not having conflicts with them. He or she is responsible to hire the attorney, file the lawsuit, consult on the case, and agree to any settlement. Cases in federal courts are only allowed to proceed as class actions if the court has jurisdiction to hear the case, and if the case meets the criteria set out in Rule 23. In the vast majority of federal class actions, the class is acting as the plaintiff.