Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure – Rule 32

ORCP 32 – Class Actions

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

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

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

         A(3) The claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class;

         A(4) The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class; and

         A(5) In an action for damages, the representative parties have complied with the prelitigation notice provisions of section H of this rule.

B Class action maintainable. An action may be maintained as a class action if the prerequisites of section A of this rule are satisfied, and in addition, the court finds that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy. The matters pertinent to this finding include:

         B(1) The extent to which the prosecution of separate actions by or against individual members of the class creates a risk of:

         B(1)(a) Inconsistent or varying adjudications with respect to members of the class which would establish incompatible standards of conduct for the party opposing the class; or

         B(1)(b) Adjudications with respect to 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;

         B(2) The extent to which the relief sought would take the form of injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief with respect to the class as a whole;

         B(3) The extent to which questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members;

         B(4) The interest of members of the class in individually controlling the prosecution or defense of separate actions;

         B(5) The extent and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already commenced by or against members of the class;

         B(6) The desirability or undesirability of concentrating the litigation of the claims in the particular forum;

         B(7) The difficulties likely to be encountered in the management of a class action that will be eliminated or significantly reduced if the controversy is adjudicated by other available means; and

         B(8) Whether or not the claims of individual class members are insufficient in the amounts or interests involved, in view of the complexities of the issues and the expenses of the litigation, to afford significant relief to the members of the class.

C Determination by order whether class action to be maintained.

         C(1) As soon as practicable after the commencement of an action brought as a class action, the court shall determine by order whether and with respect to what claims or issues it is to be so maintained and shall find the facts specially and state separately its conclusions thereon. An order under this section may be conditional, and may be altered or amended before the decision on the merits.

         C(2) Where a party has relied upon a statute or law which another party seeks to have declared invalid, or where a party has in good faith relied upon any legislative, judicial, or administrative interpretation or regulation which would necessarily have to be voided or held inapplicable if another party is to prevail in the class action, the court may postpone a determination under subsection (1) of this section until the court has made a determination as to the validity or applicability of the statute, law, interpretation, or regulation.

D Dismissal or compromise of class actions; court approval required; when notice required. Any action filed as a class action in which there has been no ruling under subsection C(1) of this rule and any action ordered maintained as a class action shall not be voluntarily dismissed or compromised without the approval of the court, and notice of the proposed dismissal or compromise shall be given to some or all members of the class in such manner as the court directs, except that if the dismissal is to be without prejudice or with prejudice against the class representative only, then such dismissal may be ordered without notice if there is a showing that no compensation in any form has passed directly or indirectly from the party opposing the class to the class representative or to the class representative’s attorney and that no promise of such compensation has been made. If the statute of limitations has run or may run against the claim of any class member, the court may require appropriate notice.

E Court authority over conduct of class actions. In the conduct of actions to which this rule applies, the court may make appropriate orders which may be altered or amended as may be desirable:

         E(1) Determining the course of proceedings or prescribing measures to prevent undue repetition or complication in the presentation of evidence or argument, including precertification determination of a motion made by any party pursuant to Rules 21 or 47 if the court concludes that such determination will promote the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy and will not cause undue delay;

         E(2) Requiring, for the protection of class members or otherwise for the fair conduct of the action, that notice be given in such manner as the court may direct to some or all class members of any step in the action, of the proposed extent of the judgment; of the opportunity of members to signify whether they consider the representation fair and adequate, to intervene and present claims or defenses or otherwise to come into the action, or to be excluded from the class;

         E(3) Imposing conditions on the representative parties, class members, or intervenors;

         E(4) Requiring that the pleadings be amended to eliminate therefrom allegations as to representation of absent persons, and that the action proceed accordingly; and

         E(5) Dealing with similar procedural matters.

F Notice and exclusion.

         F(1) When ordering that an action be maintained as a class action under this rule, the court shall direct that notice be given to some or all members of the class under subsection E(2) of this rule, shall determine when and how this notice should be given and shall determine whether, when, how, and under what conditions putative members may elect to be excluded from the class. The matters pertinent to these determinations ordinarily include: (a) the nature of the controversy and the relief sought; (b) the extent and nature of any member's injury or liability; (c) the interest of the party opposing the class in securing a final resolution of the matters in controversy; (d) the inefficiency or impracticality of separately maintained actions to resolve the controversy; (e) the cost of notifying the members of the class; and (f) the possible prejudice to members to whom notice is not directed. When appropriate, exclusion may be conditioned on a prohibition against institution or maintenance of a separate action on some or all of the matters in controversy in the class action or a prohibition against use in a separately maintained action of any judgment rendered in favor of the class from which exclusion is sought.

         F(2) Plaintiffs shall bear costs of any notice ordered prior to a determination of liability. The court may, however, order that defendant bear all or a specified part of the costs of any notice included with a regular mailing by defendant to its current customers or employees. The court may hold a hearing to determine how the costs of such notice shall be apportioned.

         F(3) No duty of compliance with due process notice requirements is imposed on a defendant by reason of the defendant including notice with a regular mailing by the defendant to current customers or employees of the defendant under this section.

         F(4) As used in this section, “customer” includes a person, including but not limited to a student, who has purchased services or goods from a defendant.

G Commencement or maintenance of class actions regarding particular issues; subclasses. When appropriate an action may be brought or ordered maintained as a class action with respect to particular claims or issues or by or against multiple classes or subclasses. Each subclass must separately satisfy all requirements of this rule except for subsection A(1).

H Notice and demand required prior to commencement of action for damages.

         H(1) Thirty days or more prior to the commencement of an action for damages pursuant to the provisions of sections A and B of this rule, the potential plaintiffs' class representative shall:

         H(1)(a) Notify the potential defendant of the particular alleged cause of action; and

         H(1)(b) Demand that such person correct or rectify the alleged wrong.

         H(2) Such notice shall be in writing and shall be sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to the place where the transaction occurred, such person's principal place of business within this state, or, in the case of a corporation or limited partnership not authorized to transact business in this state, to the principal office or place of business of the corporation or limited partnership, and to any address the use of which the class representative knows, or on the basis of reasonable inquiry, has reason to believe is most likely to result in actual notice.

I Limitation on maintenance of class actions for damages. No action for damages may be maintained under the provisions of sections A and B of this rule upon a showing by a defendant that all of the following exist:

         I(1) All potential class members similarly situated have been identified, or a reasonable effort to identify such other people has been made;

         I(2) All potential class members so identified have been notified that upon their request the defendant will make the appropriate compensation, correction, or remedy of the alleged wrong;

         I(3) Such compensation, correction, or remedy has been, or, in a reasonable time, will be, given; and

         I(4) Such person has ceased from engaging in, or if immediate cessation is impossible or unreasonably expensive under the circumstances, such person will, within a reasonable time, cease to engage in such methods, acts, or practices alleged to be violative of the rights of potential class members.

J Application of sections H and I of this rule to actions for equitable relief; amendment of complaints for equitable relief to request damages permitted. An action for equitable relief brought under sections A and B of this rule may be commenced without compliance with the provisions of section H of this rule. Not less than 30 days after the commencement of an action for equitable relief, and after compliance with the provisions of section H of this rule, the class representative’s complaint may be amended without leave of court to include a request for damages. The provisions of section I of this rule shall be applicable if the complaint for injunctive relief is amended to request damages.

K Coordination of pending class actions sharing common question of law or fact.

         K(1)(a) When class actions sharing a common question of fact or law are pending in different courts, the presiding judge of any such court, upon motion of any party or on the court's own initiative, may request the Supreme Court to assign a Circuit Court, Court of Appeals, or Supreme Court judge to determine whether coordination of the actions is appropriate, and a judge shall be so assigned to make that determination.

         K(1)(b) Coordination of class actions sharing a common question of fact or law is appropriate if one judge hearing all of the actions for all purposes in a selected site or sites will promote the ends of justice taking into account whether the common question of fact or law is predominating and significant to the litigation; the convenience of parties, witnesses, and counsel; the relative development of the actions and the work product of counsel; the efficient utilization of judicial facilities and personnel; the calendar of the courts; the disadvantages of duplicative and inconsistent rulings, orders, or judgments; and the likelihood of settlement of the actions without further litigation should coordination be denied.

         K(2) If the assigned judge determines that coordination is appropriate, such judge shall order the actions coordinated, report that fact to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Chief Justice shall assign a judge to hear and determine the actions in the site or sites the Chief Justice deems appropriate.

         K(3) The judge of any court in which there is pending an action sharing a common question of fact or law with coordinated actions, upon motion of any party or on the court's own initiative, may request the judge assigned to hear the coordinated action for an order coordinating such actions. Coordination of the action pending before the judge so requesting shall be determined under the standards specified in subsection (1) of this section.

         K(4) Pending any determination of whether coordination is appropriate, the judge assigned to make the determination may stay any action being considered for, or affecting any action being considered for, coordination.

         K(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Supreme Court shall provide by rule the practice and procedure for coordination of class actions in convenient courts, including provision for giving notice and presenting evidence.

L Form of judgment. The judgment in an action ordered maintained as a class action, whether or not favorable to the class, must generally describe the members of the class and must specifically identify any persons who requested exclusion from the class and are not bound by the judgment.

M Attorney fees, costs, disbursements, and litigation expenses.

         M(1)(a) Attorney fees for representing a class are subject to control of the court.

         M(1)(b) If under an applicable provision of law a defendant or defendant class is entitled to attorney fees, costs, or disbursements from a plaintiff class, only representative parties and those members of the class who have appeared individually are liable for those amounts. If a plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees, costs, or disbursements from a defendant class, the court may apportion the fees, costs, or disbursements among the members of the class.

         M(1)(c) If the prevailing class recovers a judgment that can be divided for the purpose, the court may order reasonable attorney fees and litigation expenses of the class to be paid from the recovery.

         M(1)(d) The court may order the adverse party to pay to the prevailing class its reasonable attorney fees and litigation expenses if permitted by law in similar cases not involving a class.

         M(1)(e) In determining the amount of attorney fees for a prevailing class the court shall consider the following factors:

         M(1)(e)(i) The time and effort expended by the attorney in the litigation, including the nature, extent, and quality of the services rendered;

         M(1)(e)(ii) Results achieved and benefits conferred upon the class;

         M(1)(e)(iii) The magnitude, complexity, and uniqueness of the litigation;

         M(1)(e)(iv) The contingent nature of success; and

         M(1)(e)(v) Appropriate criteria in Rule 1.5 of the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct.

         M(2) Before a hearing under section C of this rule or at any other time the court directs, the representative parties and the attorney for the representative parties shall file with the court, jointly or separately:

         M(2)(a) A statement showing any amount paid or promised them by any person for the services rendered or to be rendered in connection with the action or for the costs and expenses of the litigation and the source of all of the amounts;

         M(2)(b) A copy of any written agreement, or a summary of any oral agreement, between the representative parties and their attorney concerning financial arrangement or fees; and

         M(2)(c) A copy of any written agreement, or a summary of any oral agreement, by the representative parties or the attorney to share these amounts with any person other than a member, regular associate, or an attorney regularly of counsel with the law firm of the representative parties' attorney. This statement shall be supplemented promptly if additional arrangements are made.

N Statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is tolled for all class members upon the commencement of an action asserting a class action. The statute of limitations resumes running against a member of a class:

         N(1) Upon filing of an election of exclusion by such class member;

         N(2) Upon entry of an order of certification, or of an amendment thereof, eliminating the class member from the class;

         N(3) Except as to representative parties, upon entry of an order under section C of this rule refusing to certify the class as a class action; and

         N(4) Upon dismissal of the action without an adjudication on the merits.

O Payment of damages. As part of the settlement or judgment in a class action, the court may approve a process for the payment of damages. The process may include the use of claim forms. If any amount awarded as damages is not claimed within the time specified by the court, or if the court finds that payment of all or part of the damages to class members is not practicable, the court shall order that:

         (1) At least 50 percent of the amount not paid to class members be paid or delivered to the Oregon State Bar for the funding of legal services provided through the Legal Services Program established under ORS 9.572; and

         (2) The remainder of the amount not paid to class members be paid to any entity for purposes that the court determines are directly related to the class action or directly beneficial to the interests of class members.

[CCP 12/2/78; amended by CCP 12/13/80; amended by 1981 c.912 §1; §H amended by CCP 12/8/84; amended by CCP 12/12/92; §F amended by CCP 12/10/94; §N amended by CCP 12/9/00; §§F,M amended by 2003 c.576 §§173,259; §§F,N amended by CCP 12/9/06; §K deleted and §§L,M,N,O redesignated and amended by 2009 c.552 §§1 to 5; §§F,L amended by 2015 c.2 §§1,2; §O added by 2015 c.2 §3]