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A class action (or a representative action) allows one or more named plaintiffs to sue on behalf of a larger group of people when joining all members of the group would be impracticable; the members of the group raise similar claims, which present common issues of law or fact; and the named plaintiffs fairly and adequately protect the interests of other class members.
Litigation may proceed only after the court has certified the class, and even settlement or voluntary dismissal of the suit requires the court’s approval. Any class member may object to a settlement proposal, but, once made, the objection may only be withdrawn with the court’s permission.