class action

class or representative action
A class action provides a means by which, where a large group of persons are interested in a matter, one or more may sue or be sued as representatives of the class without needing to join every member of the class. This procedure is available in federal court and in most state courts under Rule of Civil Procedure 23.
See also New York C.P.L.R. No. 901.
There are general requirements for the maintenance of any class suit. These are that the persons constituting the class must be so numerous that it is impracticable to bring them all before the court, and the named representatives must be such as will fairly insure the adequate representation of them all. In addition, there must be an ascertainable class and there must be a well defined common interest in the questions of law and fact involved affecting the parties to be represented. The trial court must also certify the lawsuit as a class action. Daar v. Yellow Cab Co., 67 Cal.2d 695, 63 Cal.Rptr. 724, 731, 433 P.2d 732.
Prior to the revision of Federal Civil Procedure Rule 23 in 1966, there were three categories of class actions, popularly known as "true", "hybrid", and "spurious." These categories no longer exist under present Rule 23.
+ representative action
An action is a "representative action" when it is based upon a primary or personal right belonging to the plaintiff stockholder and those in his class. Lehrman v. Godchaux Sugars, 207 Misc. 314, 138 N.Y.S.2d 163, 166.
A stockholder's action against corporation is "representative," when based on primary or personal right of plaintiff and other stockholders of his class, and "derivative" when based on corporation's primary right, asserted on its behalf by plaintiff because of corporation's failure to act. Gordon v. Elliman, 202 Misc. 612, 115 N.Y.S.2d 567, 568, 571, 572.
- derivative action

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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