Rule 23.2. Actions Relating to Unincorporated Associations

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This rule applies to an action brought by or against the members of an unincorporated association as a class by naming certain members as representative parties. The action may be maintained only if it appears that those parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the association and its members. In conducting the action, the court may issue any appropriate orders corresponding with those in Rule 23(d), and the procedure for settlement, voluntary dismissal, or compromise must correspond with the procedure in Rule 23(e).


(As added Feb. 28, 1966, eff. July 1, 1966; amended Apr. 30, 2007, eff. Dec. 1, 2007.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1966

Although an action by or against representatives of the membership of an unincorporated association has often been viewed as a class action, the real or main purpose of this characterization has been to give “entity treatment” to the association when for formal reasons it cannot sue or be sued as a jural person under Rule 17(b). See Louisell & Hazard, Pleading and Procedure: State and Federal 718 (1962); 3 Moore's Federal Practice, par. 23.08 (2d ed. 1963); Story, J. in West v. Randall, 29 Fed.Cas. 718, 722–23, No. 17,424 (C.C.D.R.I. 1820); and, for examples, Gibbs v. Buck, 307 U.S. 66 (1939); Tunstall v. Brotherhood of Locomotive F. & E., 148 F.2d 403 (4th Cir. 1945); Oskoian v. Canuel, 269 F.2d 311 (1st Cir. 1959). Rule 23.2 deals separately with these actions, referring where appropriate to Rule 23.

Committee Notes on Rules—2007 Amendment

The language of Rule 23.2 has been amended as part of the general restyling of the Civil Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only.