This chapter discusses class actions in federal court. The chapter begins by examining the provisions of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 and the prerequisites for class certification. The chapter then addresses a number of special procedural and constitutional issues that arise in the class action context, including issues relating to class certification procedure, notice to absent class members, subject matter jurisdiction, defendant classes, settlement classes, and the due process concerns that inevitably arise when final judgments are entered against absent class members.
The chapter also discusses issues relating to awards of attorney’s fees in class actions and several specific ethical issues that can arise in class actions. Finally, the chapter considers the use of the class action device in a variety of substantive contexts to illustrate the interaction between the class procedure and different bodies of substantive law and to identify particular issues likely to arise in class actions in particular substantive areas. This final portion of the chapter focuses on the actual application of class action principles in particular kinds of cases, with special emphasis on the practical considerations counsel are likely to encounter in prosecuting or defending class actions in different substantive settings.
Consultant John Peloso also contributed to this chapter.