In what ways do California class action procedures differ from federal class action procedures?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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There are a number of ways in which California class action law is different from Federal Law. First, California law provides for four different types of class actions, and California law is in some ways more supportive of class actions. For example, California may be more lax in its requirements for giving notice to class members, determining the interest and typicality of the representative class members, and calculating the damages to which they are entitled. The law has, however, also made it possible for many class action cases to be brought under Federal Law through the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. 

Federal Versus California Class Action Law

Anecdotal evidence suggests that most defendant’s fare better in federal court, while most plaintiffs tend to have better results when the class action is handled in a state court. However, this is not a conclusively proven statement, and where your class action should and will be brought depends heavily on the legal analysis done by your attorney. 

It is also important to remember that if a plaintiff brings a California class action in state court, the defendant may make a motion to remove the case to federal court if it falls within the provisions of the Class Action Fairness Law, or if it is a question of federal law. This could result in the California class action being heard in federal court, despite the wishes of the plaintiffs. 

Getting Help

A class action, whether it is a California class action or not, are among the most complex litigation that exists because of the sheer size of the number of plaintiffs and the potential verdicts. A class action is rarely handled without an attorney, so if you have any questions or concerns about your case or about which laws will apply or which court it will be handled in, it is in your best interest to consult with the lawyer who is handling the class action. 

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