When it comes to medical device and pharmaceutical lawsuits, the class action lawsuit is very common. In a class action lawsuit, one plaintiff or a group of plaintiffs files a lawsuit on behalf of a class of people who have similar legal and factual allegations. In general, there are four requirements that the plaintiffs must satisfy before a court will certify the matter as a class action. First, the class must be so numerous that it is not practical to join all of the prospective plaintiffs in one lawsuit. Next, there must be common questions of fact and law among the class members. Third, the claims or defenses that the representative plaintiffs intend to assert must be typical of the class members. And finally, the representative plaintiffs must advance the class interests fairly and with adequate protection.
There have been many laws and court opinions that define the basic rules and requirements for class action lawsuits. One of them is the federal Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which expanded subject matter jurisdiction for federal class action cases. A federal court may assert jurisdiction over a class action lawsuit when the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000 and when the class consists of at least 100 members, among other requirements.
In 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided an important case that had broad implications for class action lawsuits. In that case, the plaintiff was an employee who brought a lawsuit in state court, asserting a number of workplace violations and wage requirement violations. Overall, the plaintiff asserted 10 causes of action, but only nine of them included class claims.