Volume 73, Number 2

May 1998

The Due Process Right to Opt Out of Class Actions

Steven T. O. Cottreau

After providing a brief background on class action litigation in Part I, this Note then examines in Part II the first due process issue: opt out fights when a state court lacks adjudicatory jurisdiction to bind the class. This Note argues that the due process requirement of minimum contacts should apply to absent class members in all mandatory class actions. For nonresident class members lacking minimum contacts with the forum, the right to opt out should be required to establish the state court’s jurisdiction to render a binding in personam judgment. The Supreme Court in Shutts so held in a state court class action seeking monetary relief, and this Note argues that the holding in Shutts should extend to all state court class actions, including those seeking nonmonetary relief. In those cases where a single adjudication of a controversy is desirable and no state has adjudicatory jurisdiction to bind the entire class in a mandatory action, the controversy will have to be resolved in multiple actions unless a federal solution exists.