St. Louis Class Action Lawyers
Class actions are management tools for courts to utilize, in appropriate cases, to efficiently and fairly dispense justice. As the Missouri Supreme Court recently recognized, “[a] class action is designed to promote judicial economy by permitting the litigation of the common questions of law and fact of numerous individuals in a single proceeding. State ex rel. Union Planters Bank v. Kendrick, 142 S.W.3d 729, 735 (Mo. 2004).
To certify a lawsuit as a class action, the court must find that the action has four elements. These elements are commonly referred to as “numerosity,” “commonality,” “typicality” and “adequacy.”
What Makes a Class Action Lawsuit?
- The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable. There is no “magic number” of class members that automatically satisfies the numerosity requirement. Rather, a common sense approach should be used in analyzing whether the class is so numerous that joinder is impracticable. Missouri cases have found that impracticability of joinder may be presumed where a class numbers as few as forty members.
- There are questions of law or fact common to the class. The test or standard for meeting the commonality prerequisite is qualitative rather than quantitative; that is, there need be only a single issue common to all members of the class. Therefore, this requirement is easily met in most cases.
- The claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class. A plaintiff’s claim is typical if it arises from the same event or practice or course of conduct that gives rise to the claims of other class members, and if his or her claims are based on the same legal theory. When it is alleged that the same unlawful conduct was directed at or affected both the named plaintiff and the class sought to be represented, the typicality requirement is usually met irrespective of varying fact patterns which underlie individual claims.
- The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class. The “adequacy” provision requires consideration of two factors: (1) whether there is an absence of material antagonistic interests between the class representative and the class; and (2) whether there is adequate assurance that the claim will be vigorously prosecuted by the class counsel.
St. Louis Class Action Lawsuit: Missouri Rules
Besides an action containing those four elements. The Missouri Rules requires that common questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members.” The predominance requirement is not a numerical test that compares the sheer number of common issues with the number of individual issues. Rather, a single common issue may be the overriding one in the litigation, despite the fact that the suit also involves numerous individual issues.
Contact The Bruning Law Firm About Your Class Action Lawsuit
If you believe that you have a potential class action lawsuit, you need representation by lawyers who are familiar with this unique area of the law. We have that experience. In fact just recently we settled a class action lawsuit that received news coverage in Green v. American Cleaners. If you need a St. Louis Class Action attorney, call us at (314) 736-3826 for a free consultation.