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Class Action (Fed) - General

. Salna v. Voltage Pictures, LLC

In Salna v. Voltage Pictures, LLC (Fed CA, 2021) the Federal Court of Appeal sets out some basics of federal class actions:
[67] The objectives of class proceedings are well known: (i) facilitating access to justice through the distribution of legal fees across a large number of class members, (ii) conserving judicial resources by reducing unnecessary duplication in the fact-finding and legal-analysis process, and (iii) modifying harmful behaviours by ensuring that actual and potential wrongdoers take into full account the harm they are causing or might cause (Dutton at paras. 27, 29; Hollick at paras. 15, 16, and 25). These advantages exist not only in a typical plaintiff class proceeding, but also in the case of a reverse class proceeding, where specific plaintiffs bring a proceeding against a class of defendants. Defendant/respondent class proceedings have been described "“[…] as a means of providing plaintiffs with an enforceable remedy where it was otherwise impractical to secure the attendance of all potential defendants, while at the same time ensuring that those affected by the outcome of a lawsuit, although absent, were sufficiently protected”" (Chippewas at paras. 16-17).

[68] Recognizing these advantages, the Federal Courts Rules allow for the certification of both plaintiff and defendant applicants (when the underlying proceeding is an action) and applicant and respondent applicants (when the underlying proceeding is an application) for class proceedings (Rules 334.14(2) and 334.14(3)).

[69] Regardless of the type of class proceeding, a judge must certify a proceeding if the criteria in Rule 334.16 are met. These criteria are:
(a) the pleadings disclose a reasonable cause of action;

(b) there is an identifiable class of two or more persons;

(c) the claims of the class members raise common questions of law or fact, whether or not those common questions predominate over questions affecting only individual members;

(d) a class proceeding is the preferable procedure for the just and efficient resolution of the common questions of law or fact; and

(e) there is a representative plaintiff or applicant who
(i) would fairly and adequately represent the interests of the class,

(ii) has prepared a plan for the proceeding that sets out a workable method of advancing the proceeding on behalf of the class and of notifying class members as to how the proceeding is progressing,

(iii) does not have, on the common questions of law or fact, an interest that is in conflict with the interests of other class members, and

(iv) provides a summary of any agreements respecting fees and disbursements between the representative plaintiff or applicant and the solicitor of record.
The balance of the case is a useful walk-through of the criteria for certification of federal class actions.


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Last modified: 20-11-22
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