How Class Action Lawsuits Work

By: Dave Roos

How Class Action Lawsuits Work: Author’s Note

I consider myself very lucky to have never seen the inside of a courtroom. I have never sued nor been sued, and frankly find the whole legal system more than a little confusing. I welcomed this assignment because it gave me the opportunity to explain some of the basics of the U.S. legal system in terms that even people as uninformed as me could understand. The "Legal History of Class Action Lawsuits" page proved the most difficult research-wise, but also the most rewarding. I was most surprised to learn that the U.S. didn't have an established rule of civil procedure until the 1930s. I was also impressed to see all of the safeguards built into modern class action law to protect both individuals and the institutions they're suing. That said, I'm still not eager to see the inside of a courtroom.


  • Bouvier, John. "A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America, and of Several States of the American Union, With References to the Civil and Other Systems of Foreign Law." J.B. Lippincott & Co. 1883 lpg=PA598&dq=rules+of+equity+and+good+conscience&source=bl& ots=Henj9dOLBU&sig=7qZbyg3wWoPSYlODQYbP6rttU7A&hl=en& ei=NnCfTfevMrS80QGF1K2BBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7& ved=0CDIQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=rules%20of%20equity%20and%20good %20conscience&f=false
  • CNBC. American Greed. "Top 10 Class Action Lawsuits"
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  • FindLaw. "Class Action Fairness Act of 2005"
  • FindLaw. "United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division: Order Certifying Classes." November 2001
  • "Class Action FAQ"
  • Rothstein, Barbara J. and Willging, Thomas E. "Managing Class Action Litigation: A Pocket Guide for Judges." Federal Judicial Center. 2005$file/ClassGde.pdf
  • Rubenstein, William B. UCLA Program on Class Actions. "Understanding the Class Action Fairnes Act of 2005."
  • Spence, Susan T. American Bar Association. "Looking Back… In a Collective Way." July/August 2002