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Procedural Adequacy

Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

University of Georgia Law School

May 12, 2010

Texas Law Review, See also, Vol. 88, 2009

This short piece responds to Jay Tidmarsh’s article, Rethinking Adequacy of Representation, 87 Texas Law Review 1137 (2009). I explore Professor Tidmarsh’s proposed “do no harm” approach to adequate representation in class actions from a procedural legitimacy perspective. I begin by considering the assumption underlying his alternative, namely that in any given class action both attorneys and class representatives tend to act as self-interested homo economicus and we must therefore tailor the adequacy requirement to curb self-interest only in so far as it makes class members worse off than they would be with individual litigation. Adopting the “do no harm” principle as our yardstick for adequate representation is alluring - it removes motivations and morality from the equation and avoids the stickiness that those calculations entail. Plus, Professor Tidmarsh’s careful treatment of the philosophical and economic arguments underlying the joinder rules make a compelling argument for the change. My concern, however, is two-fold: (1) tailoring adequacy to egocentric behavior by providing a floor to minimally acceptable conduct creates a troubling anchor that is at odds with agency and ethical principles and (2) this proposed change, particularly as it tolerates collusion and unequal treatment among class members, may adversely impact perceptions of procedural justice and class action legitimacy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: lass Action, Adequacy of Representation, Class Conflicts, Identity of Interests, Procedural Justice, Rule 23

JEL Classification: K10, K13, K41

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Date posted: January 31, 2010 ; Last revised: September 30, 2015

Suggested Citation

Burch, Elizabeth Chamblee, Procedural Adequacy (May 12, 2010). Texas Law Review, See also, Vol. 88, 2009 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1545285

Contact Information

Elizabeth Chamblee Burch (Contact Author)
University of Georgia Law School ( email )
225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States
HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.uga.edu/profile/elizabeth-chamblee-burch

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