How to Bullet-Proof and Attack Class Action Pleadings

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Class Actions

The ultimate function of pleadings is to clearly define the issues of fact and law to be determined by the court. Pleadings that are merely tactical and designed to put unfair pressure on the opponents, or to embarrass them, are liable to be struck as an abuse of process. Moreover, it is improper to make an excessive or grossly exaggerated claim for damages. Portions of a pleading that are irrelevant, argumentative or inserted for colour, or that constitute bare allegations should be struck out as scandalous. Facts may be pleaded but not the evidence by which those facts are to be proved.

Conventional Litigation

Class proceedings are not exempt from the usual rules for pleadings. The Class Proceedings Act does not create substantive rights, or modify the substantive law.

However, statements of claim in proposed class actions still look different. The pleading may run to a hundred paragraphs or more. It may have a table of contents. There may be a definition section. The pleading may include a very detailed description of disease, the history of drug trials and approvals or other product testing, or of a defendant’s (alleged) bad conduct. Damages claimed may be in the billions of dollars.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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