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Rule 16. Class Actions

(a)  Prerequisites to a Class Action. One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all if:

    (1)  The class is so numerous that joinder of all members, whether otherwise required or permitted, is impracticable;

    (2)  There are questions of law or fact common to the class which predominate over any questions affecting only individual members;

    (3)  The claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class;

    (4)  The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class;

    (5)  A class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy; and

    (6)  The attorney or non-attorney representative for the representative parties will adequately represent the interests of the class.

(b)  Order Allowing Class Action. As soon as practicable after the commencement of an action brought as a class action, the court shall determine by order whether it is to be so maintained. An order under this section may be conditional and may be altered or amended before the decision on the merits on the court’s own motion or on motion of the parties. The action may be maintained as a class action only if the court finds that the prerequisites under section (a) of this rule have been satisfied.

(c)  Satisfaction of Jurisdictional Damages Limit. For purposes of satisfying the jurisdictional damages limit of the court, the claims of the members of the class shall be aggregated.

(d)  Description of Class. The order permitting a class action shall describe the class. When appropriate the court may limit the class to those members who do not request exclusion from the class within the specified time after notice.

(e)  Notice of Class Action. Following the court’s order maintaining the class action, the court shall direct to the members of the class the best notice practicable under the circumstances, including individual notice to all members who can be identified through reasonable effort.  The notice shall advise each member that (1) the court will exclude that party from the class if that party so requests by a specified date; (2) the judgment, whether favorable or not, will include all members who do not request exclusion; (3) any member who does not request exclusion may, if that party desires, enter an Appearance through that party’s counsel; and contain such other information that the court deems appropriate. Unless the court orders otherwise, the representatives of the class shall bear the expense of notification and be responsible for the giving of the notice to members of the class.

(f)  Exclusion. Any member of the plaintiff class who files an election to be excluded in the manner and in the time specified in the notice, is excluded from and not bound by the judgment in the class action. A member of a defendant class may not elect to be excluded.

(g)  Judgment. The judgment in an action maintained as a class action, whether or not favorable to the class, shall include and describe those whom the court finds to be members of the class.

(h)  Methods of Payment of Damages. If the court renders judgment in favor of a plaintiff class, the court may, in its discretion, order the defendant to pay damages into the court and require each member of the class to file a claim with the court, or order payment of damages in any other manner it deems appropriate.

(i)  Actions Conducted Partially as Class Actions. When appropriate, an action may be brought or maintained as a class action with respect to particular issues, or a class may be divided into subclasses and each subclass treated as a class. The provisions of this subdivision shall then be construed and applied accordingly.

(j)  Orders in Conduct of Class Actions. In the conduct of class actions the court may make and alter appropriate orders:

    (1)  Determining the course of proceedings or prescribing measures to prevent undue repetition or complication in the presentation of evidence or argument;

    (2)  Requiring, for the protection of the members of the class, or otherwise for the fair conduct of the action, that notice be given in such manner as the court may direct to some or all of the members of any step in the action, or of the proposed extent of the judgment, or of the opportunity of members to signify whether they consider the representation fair and adequate, or to appear and present claims or defenses, or otherwise to come into the action; or

    (3)  Dealing with similar procedural matters.

(k)  Dismissal, Discontinuance or Settlement.  A class action shall not be dismissed, discontinued or settled without the approval of the court. Notice of the proposed dismissal, discontinuance or settlement shall be given to all members of the class in such manner as the court directs.


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