Two years ago, the extent of my knowledge of and experience in class actions was limited to a complex litigation course I took in law school. I had four years of general litigation practice under my belt and had always thought class actions sounded interesting, but it was not until I was thrown into drafting a class certification opposition that the unique issues and strategic considerations of defending clients in class actions became my reality.
Class action practice is different from non-aggregated litigation in a number of important aspects. First, the life of the case takes on a different rhythm owing to an additional layer of procedure imposed on aggregate litigation. Second, there are unique burdens imposed on named plaintiffs to ensure a case may properly proceed as a representative action. Third, certain types of class actions have the propensity to spur copy-cat cases that increase a client’s exposure to liability exponentially from what may have been expected at the start of the case. Defense-side practitioners must consider these three issues, among others, to defend clients effectively from class actions.