Articles Tagged with Top Class Action Defense Attorneys in Chicago and Naperville Area

Based on our research and experience, the best defenses to a class action generally revolve around the requirements of typicality and adequacy of the class representative (Danis v. USN Communications, Inc., 189 F.R.D. 391 (1999)). The presence of even an arguable defense peculiar to the named plaintiff or a small subset of the plaintiff class may destroy the required typicality of the class as well as bring into question the adequacy of the named plaintiff’s representation. This fear arises from the possibility that the named plaintiff could become distracted by the presence of an individual defense, which could compromise the representation of the rest of the class (Al Haj v. Pfizer Inc., — F.R.D. —- (2020))(Lipton v. Chattem, Inc., 289 F.R.D. 456 (2013))(CE Design Ltd. v. King Architectural Metals, Inc., 637 F.3d 721 (2011)).

A defense unique to a proposed class representative does not need to be a sure bet to defeat the adequacy required for class certification; it only needs to be arguable and substantial (Al Haj v. Pfizer Inc., — F.R.D. —- (2020)). Similarly, defenses that are specific to the named representative may defeat the requirements of typicality or adequacy of the representative (Danis v. USN Communications, Inc., 189 F.R.D. 391 (1999)). However, these defenses need to be “unique, arguable and likely to usurp a significant portion of the litigant’s time and energy” (Danis v. USN Communications, Inc., 189 F.R.D. 391 (1999)).

It’s important to note that the assertion of individual defenses does not necessarily defeat a plaintiff’s ability to represent a class adequately (P.J.’s Concrete Pumping Service, Inc. v. Nextel West Corp., 345 Ill.App.3d 992 (2004))(Walczak v. Onyx Acceptance Corp., 365 Ill.App.3d 664 (2006)). A class action, in which a defendant is alleged to have acted wrongfully in the same basic manner as to the entire class, is not necessarily defeated merely because certain defenses may be urged against individual class members (735 ILCS 5/2-801).

Moreover, defenses that are unique to a named plaintiff are relevant to the inquiry into whether plaintiff’s claims are typical but are not necessarily dispositive of the issue (Sebo v. Rubenstein, 188 F.R.D. 310 (1999)). In many instances when a unique defense exists a class is defeated but the court is not required to deny certification for speculative reasons; the certification decision always remains within the sound discretion of the court (Danis v. USN Communications, Inc., 189 F.R.D. 391 (1999)).

Lastly, it’s worth noting that while the merits are not typically before the appellate court when reviewing the district court’s certification of the class, the claim of the class representative may be subject to a defense that makes it an inappropriate representative of the class because other class members may not be subject to the same defense, or perhaps to any defense (CE Design Ltd. v. King Architectural Metals, Inc., 637 F.3d 721 (2011)).

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