Class Actions

Course Number:

Credit Hours:
2 or 3 Credit Hours

Prerequisites: RCC*. Whether sued in federal or state court, whether considered rightly or wrongly initiated, class-action lawsuits are more popular today than ever. Indeed, Congress’ highest-profile litigation reform effort of late – its recently-enacted Class Action Fairness Act – goes directly to this sensation’s heart. Given class actions’ prevalence, well-rounded lawyers need to understand class actions’ substantive, procedural, political, societal, economic, and constitutional nuances and effects. This course will examine multiple substantive class-action areas, such as consumer fraud and deceptive-business practices; price-fixing and market-allocation schemes; and securities and commodities fraud. While considering these various substantive areas, we’ll analyze Federal Rule 23 and its state-court counterparts. We’ll study class-certification procedure in federal and state courts; the requirements necessary for class certification; and the defenses and tactics typically (and not so typically) asserted to defeat it. We’ll also consider competing class certifications’ Due Process, Commerce, and Full Faith and Credit Clause implications; class-action coordination among various competing or complimentary federal and state class-action cases; and class-action settlement issues, such as proper notice, damages allocation, opt-out procedures, and objections. We’ll study why class actions are considered important (or not) to our society and economy; how they contribute to redressing (or exacerbating) consumer wrongs; and how they raise our collective social consciousness or, alternatively, are abused and create (at least arguably) social chaos. Students will leave this course with an understanding and appreciation for the full range of class action issues that new lawyers can expect to encounter in their daily practices, whether their practices concentrate on class action law or other substantive areas.

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