When a consumer feels she has been cheated by someone she bought a product or service from, the amount of her claim is often too small to warrant suing the seller. In that case, the consumer’s best bet is to collect a group of other consumers who have similarly been allegedly cheated and file a class action lawsuit. In order to successfully pursue a class action lawsuit though, a judge must grant the plaintiffs class action status, and in order for the judge to do that, the class of plaintiffs must fulfill certain requirements. These requirements include a class that is sufficiently large to warrant a class action, plaintiffs who can adequately represent the class, and complaints from class members that are sufficiently similar to warrant combining them into one action.
Another requirement that has caused much controversy in the courts lately is ascertainability, meaning there must be a way to identify all of the members of the class. This can be an issue in class actions filed against food producers or retailers, especially those who produce cheap food, for which consumers rarely keep their receipts. In Carrera v. Bayer, the plaintiff, Gabriel Carrera, sued Bayer on behalf of all consumers who had purchased Bayer’s One-A-Day WeightSmart diet supplement. According to the complaint, Bayer falsely advertised its diet supplement as having metabolism-boosting effects, based on the fact that it contained green tea extract. Continue reading