A. Prerequisites: Rule 23(a).
All four requirements must be met.
1. The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable.
2. There are questions of law or fact common to the class.
3. The claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class.
4. The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.
B. Grounds: Rule 23(b).
In addition to meeting the prerequisites, the action must be based on one of the following grounds:
1. Problems created by separate actions:
a. Inconsistent judgments would require inconsistent conduct by the party opposing the class.
b. Judgments regarding some members of the class would impair the rights of other members of the class.
2. Injunction or declaratory relief is appropriate with regard to the class as a whole.
3. Common questions, fairness, and efficiency:
a. Common questions of law or factpredominate over any questions affecting only individual members.
b. A class action is the fairest and most efficient way to settle the controversy.
c. Factors to be considered include:
i. The interests of class members in individually controlling prosecution or defense in separate actions.
ii. The extent and nature of litigation already commenced by or against class members.
iii. Whether it is desirable to concentrate the claims in the particular forum.
iv. The difficulties likely to be encountered in the management of the class action.
1. Federal Question Jurisdiction: 28 U.S.C. 1331.
Jurisdiction is proper if the claims “arise under” federal law.
2. “Diversity” Jurisdiction 28 U.S.C. 1332 (d)(2)
a. There are at least 100 members in the class. 28 U.S.C. 1332 (d)(5)(B)
b. The amount in controversy is over $5,000,000.
The claims of all individual class members shall be aggregated to determine whether amount in controversy is over $5m. 28 U.S.C. 1332 (d)(6).
c. Minimal diversity– the requirement is met under any of the following circumstances:
i. Any plaintiff is a citizen of a different state than any defendant.
ii. Any plaintiff is a foreign state or a citizen of a foreign state, and any defendant is a U.S. citizen
iii. Any plaintiff is a citizen of a U.S. state and any defendant is a foreign state or a citizen of a foreign state.
d. 28 U.S.C. 1332 (d)(3) The court may decline jurisdiction if:
i. Between 1/3 and 2/3 of all plaintiffs are citizens of the state in which the action was originally filed, and
ii. The primary defendants are citizens of the state in which the action was originally filed.
iii. The court must consider whether:
A. Whether the claims asserted involve matters of national or interstate interest.
B. Whether the claims asserted will be governed by the state in which the action was originally filed, or by laws of other states.
C. Whether the class action has been pleaded in a manner to avoid federal jurisdiction.
D. Whether the action was brought in a forum with a distinct nexus with the class members, the alleged harm, or the defendants.
E. Whether the number of class members from the state where the action was originally filed is substantially larger than the number of class members from any other state, and whether members of the proposed class are citizens of a substantial number of states.
F. Whether similar claims have been filed on behalf of the same persons within the 3 years preceding the filing of the action.
e. 28 U.S.C. 1332 (d)(4)
This is sometimes called the “local controversy exception.” The court must decline jurisdiction if:
i. 2/3 or more of all plaintiffs are citizens of the state in which the action was originally filed, and
ii. At least one defendant is a defendant whose alleged conduct forms a significant basis for claims asserted, and from whom significant relief is sought, and
iii. The principal injuries were incurred within the state where the action was originally filed.
iv. No other class actions have been filed asserting the same or similar claims against any of the defendants during the preceding 3 years.