class action


: a legal action undertaken by one or more plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and all other persons having an identical interest in the alleged wrong

Examples of class action in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Stambaugh has occupied the position of first-chair trial attorney in both state and federal courts, working in business litigation matters such as intellectual property and class action lawsuits. Valerie Wu, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 Stability responded by asserting that Getty filed in the wrong court, and its case should be paired with a separate class action copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Stability by several artists in San Francisco federal court. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 Starbucks will also have to face many of the claims brought against it in the class action. Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN, 23 Sep. 2023 Those layoffs became the subject of a federal class action lawsuit that’s still active with a trial expected next May. Hannah Denham |, al, 1 Sep. 2023 The ruling marks the first-ever successful class action lawsuit against a cruise operator, as Vicky Antzoulatos, the plaintiff’s lawyer, tells Jamie McKinnell of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Oct. 2023 As reported by Engadget, the new offer from GM comes as the company deals with a class action lawsuit over the Bolts that required a software update that limits range to protect it from catching fire. Umar Shakir, The Verge, 24 Oct. 2023 Chick-fil-A has reportedly agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over food delivery costs, which some customers claim were quietly raised by as much as 30% without any notification. Chris Morris, Fortune, 23 Oct. 2023 The courts broke the class action up into their own cases, and five suits tied to the initial complaint are still pending. Alexa Gagosz,, 14 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'class action.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1909, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of class action was in 1909

Dictionary Entries Near class action

Cite this Entry

“Class action.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Legal Definition

class action

: an action in which a representative plaintiff sues or a representative defendant is sued on behalf of a class of plaintiffs or defendants who have the same interests in the litigation as their representative and whose rights or liabilities can be more efficiently determined as a group than in a series of individual suits

called also class action suit, class suit

see also certification compare consolidate, joinder, test case at case

Note: Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets out the prerequisites for having an action certified as a class action in federal court. Section (a) permits a class action if “(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class, (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.” If the action satisfies these requirements, it must then fit into one of three categories: (1) where individual litigation would have varying results requiring the opposing party to act inconsistently toward the class members or would affect the interests of class members who are not parties to the individual action; (2) where the opposing party has acted or refused to act on grounds that are applicable to the class members as a whole and therefore injunctive or declaratory relief with respect to the class members as a whole is appropriate; or, (3) where the questions of law or fact common to the class members outweigh questions that apply to only particular individuals so that a class action is the best method to determine respective rights and liabilities. Using these guidelines, the judge will decide if an action should be certified as a class action.

More from Merriam-Webster on class action

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