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A class action, also known as a class action lawsuit, class suit, or representative action, is a type of lawsuit where one of the parties is a group of people who are represented collectively by a member of that group. The class action originated in the United States and is still predominantly a U.S. phenomenon, but Canada, as well as several European countries with civil law have made changes in recent years to allow consumer organizations to bring claims on behalf of consumers.

United Kingdom

In the United States, the class representative, also called a lead plaintiff, named plaintiff, or representative plaintiff is the named party in a class-action lawsuit.[51] Alt

In the United States, the class representative, also called a lead plaintiff, named plaintiff, or representative plaintiff is the named party in a class-action lawsuit.[51] Although the class representative is named as a party to the litigation, the court must approve 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. In exchange, the class represen

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. In exchange, the class representative may be entitled to compensation (at the discretion of the court) out of the recovery amount.[52]

In federal courts, class actions are governed by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 23 and 28 U.S.C.A. § 1332(d).[53] 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. However, Rule 23 also provides for defendant class actions.

Typically, federal courts are thought to be more favorable for defendants, and state courts more favorable for plaintiffs.[54] Many class actions are filed initially in state court. The defendant will frequently try to [54] Many class actions are filed initially in state court. The defendant will frequently try to remove the case to federal court. The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005[55] increases defendants' ability to remove state cases to federal court by giving federal courts original jurisdiction for all class actions with damages exceeding $5,000,000 exclusive of interest and costs.[56] The Class Action Fairness Act contains carve-outs for, among other things, shareholder class actions covered by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and those concerning internal corporate governance issues (the latter typically being brought as shareholder derivative actions in the state courts of Delaware, the state of incorporation of most large corporations).[57]

Class actions may be brought in federal court if the claim arises under federal law or if the claim falls under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). Under § 1332(d)(2) the federal district courts have original jurisdiction over any civil action where the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000 and