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1.1.3 Subjects Covered in This Treatise

Chapters cover the selection of a case for class treatment, obtaining the client’s authorization to sue, selecting legal claims and the proper forum, choosing the class definition, drafting the complaint, conducting discovery on class issues, preparing the named plaintiff for deposition, countering a defendant’s delaying tactics, and preventing the defendant from destroying class files or tampering with class members. Also detailed are issues of federal court jurisdiction and removal, class certification standards and hearings, appeals of class certification rulings, and providing proper class notice.

Issues particularly relevant to a class action trial—including appropriate jury instructions, interrogatories and verdicts, determining individual damages, and res judicata effect of a class judgment—are also addressed. Finally, the treatise offers practice tips concerning negotiation of a class settlement, maximization of class benefits, the pros and cons of coupons for consumers, negotiation of attorney fees, class members’ objections to a disadvantageous settlement agreement, cy pres awards, and how best to handle administrative matters such as the drafting, sending out, and keeping track of class notices, as well as the distribution of benefits and tax consequences of class action recoveries.

This treatise’s legal analysis concentrates on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, since this rule governs all consumer class actions brought in federal court and because most states have adopted some variation of Rule 23. Rule 23 and the Advisory Committee Notes are reprinted at Appendix A, infra. In addition, the class action rules of all fifty states are reprinted at Appendix C, infra, along with a reprint of the American Bar Association’s state-by-state analyses of decisions under these rules by experts from each state.