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Many plaintiffs’ lawyers seek to define classes as broadly as possible in order to raise the stakes—and potential settlement value—of a case. These sweeping class definitions often include putative class members who would lack standing to bring their claims individually because they have not personally been injured by the alleged wrongdoing. But as the Supreme Court has reiterated, standing is not optional for plaintiffs in federal courts: Under Article III of the Constitution, federal courts lack jurisdiction unless the plaintiff has “suffered an ‘injury in fact’” that is “fairly…traceable to the challenged action of the defendant” and that likely “will be ‘redressed by a favorable decision,’” (Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife). Defendants therefore should consider opposing class certification on the grounds that the proposed class may contain absent class members who would lack standing on their own.

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