When is the Class in a Class Action Too Big?

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5 Responses

  1. There have been much bigger lawsuits, both in terms of class size and total damages sought. The legal issue is commonality; “too big” is just a convenient catchphrase.

  2. Sasha says:

    Thanks James,

    Exactly. And so what I’m wondering is why the _principle_ of commonality being raised in this particular WalMart case — especially given all these other, larger suits?

  3. jonst says:

    Perhaps because of the fact that there is a tendency to focus on the most attractive and likely avenue of legal defense. In this case, by a landslide, it is seeking motion to dismiss for lack of damages. That defense is, essentially, ‘undefeated’ at this point.

  4. Orin Kerr says:


    I’m not entirely sure what you are asking, but the dissents in the decision below would be a good place to start if you want to understand the claim advanced.


  5. Mark Weber says:

    I doubt whether Supreme Court involvement itself is the key variable. Califano v. Yamasaki, 442 US 682 (1979), approved a huge, nationwide class, though exact numbers were not specified and the class was under 23(b)(2). Of course, that was a different Court.