16 CFR 1025.18 - Class actions.
(a) Prerequisites to a class action. One or more members of a class of respondents may be proceeded against as representative parties on behalf of all respondents if:
(1) The class is so numerous or geographically dispersed that joinder of all members is impracticable;
(2) There are questions of fact or issues of law common to the class;
(3) The defenses of the representative parties are typical of the defenses of the class; and
(4) The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.
(b) Composition of class. A class may be composed of:
(1) Manufacturers, distributors, or retailers, or a combination of them, of products which allegedly have the same defect, or
(2) Manufacturers, distributors, or retailers, or a combination of them, of products which allegedly fail to conform to an applicable standard, regulation, or consumer product safety rule, or
(3) Manufacturers, distributors, or retailers, or a combination of them, who have themselves allegedly failed to conform to an applicable standard, regulation, or consumer product safety rule.
(c) Notice of commencement. A complaint issued under this section shall identify the class, the named respondents considered to be representative of the class, and the alleged defect or nonconformity common to the products manufactured, imported, distributed or sold by the members of the class. The complaint shall be served upon the parties in accordance with § 1025.16.
(d) Proper class action determination. Upon motion of Complaint Counsel and as soon as practicable after the commencement of any proceedings brought as a class action, the Presiding Officer shall determine by order whether the action is a proper class action. It is a proper class action if the prerequisites of paragraph (a) of this section are met and if the Presiding Officer finds that:
(1) The prosecution of separate actions against individual members of the respondent class might result in (i) inconsistent or varying determinations with respect to individual members of the class which might produce incompatible or conflicting results, or (ii) determinations with respect to individual members of the class which would, as a practical matter, be dispositive of the interests of the other members who are not parties to the proceedings or would substantially impair or impede the ability of the absent members to protect their interests; or
(2) The Commission has acted on grounds generally applicable to the class, thereby making appropriate an order directed to the class as a whole.
(e) Revision of class membership. Upon motion of any party or any member of the class, or upon the Presiding Officer's own initiative, the Presiding Officer may revise the membership of the class.
(f) Orders in conduct of class actions. In proceedings to which this section applies, the Presiding Officer may make appropriate orders:
(1) Determining the course of the proceedings or prescribing measures to prevent undue repetition and promote the efficient presentation of evidence or argument;
(2) Requiring (for the protection of the members of the class, or otherwise for the fair conduct of the action) that notice be given, in such manner as the Presiding Officer may direct, of any step in the action, of the extent of the proposed order, or of the opportunity for members to inform the Presiding Officer whether they consider the representation to be fair and adequate, or of the opportunity for class members to intervene and present defenses;
(3) Requiring that the pleadings be amended to eliminate allegations concerning the representation of absent persons; or
(4) Dealing with other procedural matters.
(g) Scope of final order. In any proceedings maintained as a class action, any Decision and Order of the Presiding Officer or the Commission under § 1025.51 or § 1025.55, as applicable, whether or not favorable to the class, shall include and describe those respondents whom the Presiding Officer or the Commission finds to be members of the class.
(h) Notice of results. Upon the termination of any adjudication that has been maintained as a class action, the best notice practicable of the results of the adjudication shall be given to all members of the class in such manner as the Presiding Officer or the Commission directs.