class action


Definition of 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 Lyft is also facing an ongoing class action lawsuit from investors alleging securities fraud. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, 11 June 2021 Michigan State’s women’s swimming and diving team has filed a class action lawsuit alleging Title IX violations, which is still pending. Kristi Dosh, Forbes, 19 May 2021 In 2018, a federal judge responded to a class action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union by ordering changes to the facility, including regular reports by an independent monitor. Rob Mentzer, Star Tribune, 26 Apr. 2021 But the class action is split among 17,000 women, with the largest awards not exceeding $300,000 — while the larger $852 million is split among more than 710 women and their lawyers. Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2021 The class action is the latest in a string of athlete lawsuits alleging that NCAA rules violate federal antitrust law. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, 29 Mar. 2021 Plaintiffs in the civil suit, who had opted out of the class action but had to retain counsel, will end up receiving substantially higher payouts. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 27 Mar. 2021 The class action against the United States Soccer Federation, filed by Rapinoe and more than 25 of her teammates, is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which is considering their request to revive the pay bias allegations. Bloomberg News, oregonlive, 24 Mar. 2021 The NGOs are pursuing the class action on behalf of racial minorities who are mostly second- or third-generation French citizens. Elaine Ganley, Star Tribune, 27 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'class action.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of class action

1909, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About class action

Time Traveler for class action

Time Traveler

The first known use of class action was in 1909

See more words from the same year

Statistics for class action

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Class action.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for class action

class action


English Language Learners Definition of class action

US, law : a lawsuit in which many people join together to sue because they all say they were harmed by the same person or group

class action


Legal Definition of 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 Encyclopedia article about class action


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!