In evaluating which of multiple claims to pursue, keep in mind that it is generally not wise in a class action to raise claims that require proof of different sets of facts. Attorneys should avoid complicating the litigation unnecessarily. It is advisable to limit a class action to one or two basic types of issues that rely on the same facts, same elements of the claims, or the same proof. A class is then more likely to be certified, and the case will then be easier to manage and more efficient to litigate, both for the attorney and the court. If it is to be included, any individual claim should certainly necessitate a minimum of fact-finding to avoid complicating the central issues of class certification.
In a case with multiple, divergent issues, a single class action lawsuit that tries to include all possible claims may become unwieldy and difficult for the attorney to manage. The plaintiff’s attorneys can easily become overwhelmed by one large case, especially if they are in a small office or are relatively inexperienced in class action litigation.
If many diverse claims and issues are involved, formulating a class definition is complicated by multiple variables for each claim and issue. Diversity of claims may require multiple classes or subclasses and possibly different class representatives for the various subclasses. Consequently, different class lists and different notices to each class and subclass may be required. If some of the classes and subclasses are not certified, the plaintiff may have to proceed with them on an individual basis until the case can be appealed or settled. Alternatively, if the classes or subclasses vary widely in terms of the strength of the claims, plaintiff’s counsel may be unable to represent all of the proposed classes or subclasses in settlement negotiations because the interests of the various groups will diverge.
The motion for class certification itself will probably require the attorney to address all of the varied issues raised by the case in one memorandum or brief. Likewise, responding to a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment may require additional work. Writing a brief on fewer issues will obviously take less time and fewer resources.
If the claims are brought in separate cases, counsel will have separate time periods for writing the briefs in each case, and each brief will be less encompassing and complex than one that addresses all possible issues.