Alternatives for Class Certification

According to Rule 23(b), there are three alternative grounds for class certification. If these alternative grounds are inapplicable, then class certification will be rejected. Rule 23(b) is meant to be applied liberally, not restrictively, because courts are usually in favor of class action certification. They have a favorable view because class action certification often produces significant public policy benefits.

Under Rule 23(b)(1), an action is eligible “if individual adjudication of the controversy would prejudice either the party opposing the class (b)(1)(A), or the class members themselves, (b)(1)(B).” Therefore, Rule 23(b)(1) allows class certification if a defendant could be faced with conflicting orders of conduct from individual suits.

Under Rule 23(b)(2), actions are “limited to those class actions seeking primarily injunctive or corresponding declaratory relief” (Barnes v. The American Tobacco Company). A (b)(2) class must be unified and homogeneous; therefore, it must be evident that the defendant has acted on grounds that are applicable and relevant to all of the class members.

Class certification under Rule 23(b)(3) is appropriate when “the court finds that the questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.”

Essentially, in order for there to be class certification, it must be confirmed and demonstrated that class action litigation is the best choice for the situation. Class action is considered to be superior if there are numerous class members who have small claims that are not worthy of individual adjudication.


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For information about our approach to class certification, contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik for a free consultation. We represent employees in class action lawsuits against employers in San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Orange County, and other cities throughout California.