Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corp., 527 U.S. 815, 19 (1999)

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Cite as: 527 U. S. 815 (1999)

Opinion of the Court

ation for public or private purposes, and may be fairly supposed to represent the rights and interests of the whole . . . ." Id., at 722; see J. Story, Commentaries on Equity Pleadings 97 (J. Gould 10th rev. ed. 1892); F. Calvert, A Treatise upon the Law Respecting Parties to Suits in Equity 17-29 (1837) (hereinafter Calvert, Parties to Suits in Equity). From these roots, modern class action practice emerged in the 1966 revision of Rule 23. In drafting Rule 23(b), the Advisory Committee sought to catalogue in "functional" terms "those recurrent life patterns which call for mass litigation through representative parties." Kaplan, A Prefatory Note, 10 B. C. Ind. & Com. L. Rev. 497 (1969).

Rule 23(b)(1)(B) speaks from "a vantage point within the class, [from which the Advisory Committee] spied out situations where lawsuits conducted with individual members of the class would have the practical if not technical effect of concluding the interests of the other members as well, or of impairing the ability of the others to protect their own interests." Kaplan, Continuing Work of the Civil Committee: 1966 Amendments of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (I), 81 Harv. L. Rev. 356, 388 (1967) (hereinafter Kaplan, Continuing Work). Thus, the subdivision (read with subdivision (c)(2)) provides for certification of a class whose members have no right to withdraw, when "the prosecution of separate actions . . . would create a risk" of "adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would as a practical matter be dispositive of the interests of the other members not parties to the adjudications or substantially impair or impede their ability to protect their interests." Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 23(b)(1)(B).13 Classic examples

13 In contrast to class actions brought under subdivision (b)(3), in cases brought under subdivision (b)(1), Rule 23 does not provide for absent class members to receive notice and to exclude themselves from class membership as a matter of right. See 1 H. Newberg & A. Conte, Class Actions 4.01, p. 4-6 (3d ed. 1992) (hereinafter Newberg). It is for this reason that such cases are often referred to as "mandatory" class actions.


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