Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 23 Interpretation

Certification of class actions is governed by Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure 23. The party seeking class certification must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that all of the necessary requisites of Rule 23 are satisfied. Cleveland Bd. of Education v. Armstrong World Industries, 22 Ohio Misc. 2d 18, 476 N.E.2d 397 (Cuyahoga Cty. Ct. of Common Pleas 1985), paragraph one of syllabus. Because Federal Rule 23 is virtually identical to Ohio Rule 23, federal authority is an appropriate aid to interpretation of the Ohio rule. Marks v. C.P. Chemical Co., 31 Ohio St. 3d 200, 509 N.E.2d 1249 (1987). Rule 23(A) establishes 4 prerequisites to class certification: (1) numerosity; (2) commonality; (3) typicality; (4) adequacy. Ohio case law includes two additional requirements, said to be "implicit" within the requirements of Rule 23: first, an identifiable class must exist; second, the class representatives must be members of the class. Warner v. Waste Management, Inc., 36 Ohio St. 3d 91, 96, 521 N.E.2d 1091 (1988). Once a party seeking to certify a class action satisfies the prerequisites of Rule 23(A), the party must then demonstrate that the class may be maintained under one of the provisions of Rule 23(B). Plaintiffs seek to maintain their class action against Defendants under the provisions of Rule 23(B)(3). Rule 23(B)(3) imposes the additional requirements of predomination and superiority. Rule 23(A)(1) requires that the class be so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable. Courts have not specified numerical limits for the size of a class action; this determination must be made on a case-by-case basis. Warner, 36 Ohio St. 3d at 97.