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Class certification is a key step in consumer fraud and false advertising class actions. Historically, certification of a purchaser class has relied on a demonstration that class members were exposed to, relied on and were directly harmed by the alleged fraud or misrepresentation (e.g., by purchasing a product they would not have otherwise purchased or getting less value from a product than was implicitly promised). Over time, however, approaches to class certification have evolved. In the past few years, there have been several cases in which plaintiffs have argued that the court should accept a “shortcut” to this showing of direct harm through reliance and exposure.

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