Requirements for Class Certification
Class certification is when a judge makes a determination that the case can proceed as a class action and that the class representatives can represent individuals similarly situated. For a judge to allow a case to proceed as a class action, he or she must find that the requirements of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation are satisfied. Additionally, the judge must conclude that the class action mechanism is the most efficient proceeding to protect the rights of the parties.
To establish numerosity, the class representatives must establish that the number of people affected by the business practice or claim being sued about is so numerous that joining all class members in one lawsuit is impractical. Typically, cases are certified as class actions when hundreds or thousands of people are affected.
Questions of law or fact common to the class when the case revolves around a common set of facts. Plaintiffs meet this test when at least one issue whose resolution affects all or a significant number of the putative class members.
This requirement is satisfied if the claims of the class representatives arise from the same course of conduct that gives rise to the claims of the absent class members and if the claims are based on the same legal theories.
Adequacy of Representation
The requirement of adequacy of representation requires that class representatives, the representatives, parties will abide by their fiduciary duty and fairly and adequately protect the interests of the absent class members. This requirement has two elements: (1) that the class representatives and their counsel will competently and vigorously prosecute the action; and (2) that the interests of the class representatives are not adverse to those of the class members.
Additionally, the Court must determine that class treatment is appropriate to protect the parties rights while making the case efficient for the parties and the court