Legal Memorandum: Class Action Procedure in LA

Issue: What authority exists to prevent certification of a proposed class in Louisiana state court?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Class action process; Class action certification; Numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation
Jurisdiction: Louisiana
Cited Cases: 931 So. 2d 535; 309 So. 2d 144
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 23; Louisiana Code Civ. P. art. 591, art. 592(A)(1)
Date: 08/01/2011

The Louisiana class action procedure was adapted from, and closely resembles, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.  Stevens v. Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund of the City of Shreveport, 309 So. 2d 144, 148 (La. 1975).  In its entirety, Louisiana Code Civ. P. art. 591 reads:

A.        One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all, only if:

(1)        The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable.

(2)        There are questions of law or fact common to the class.

(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)        The class is or may be defined objectively in terms of ascertainable criteria, such that the court may determine the constituency of the class for purposes of the conclusiveness of any judgment that may be rendered in the case.

B.        An action may be maintained as a class action only if all of the prerequisites of Paragraph A of this Article are satisfied, and in addition:

(1)        The prosecution of separate actions by or against individual members of the class would create a risk of:

(a)        Inconsistent or varying adjudications with respect to individual members […]

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