Due process requires that a court "stringently" apply the competent representation requirement of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(4) because class members are bound by the judgment (unless they opt out), even though they may not actually be aware of the proceedings.
Plaintiff pro se brought class action suits against computer manufacturer and scanner manufacturer on claims arising from purchases of a computer and a scanner. Plaintiff alleged that the computer manufacturer induced him and other consumers to purchase computers and special support packages by making false promises of technical support, while scanner manufacturer breached a duty to warn consumers that its products are incompatible with Gateway computers. Plaintiff filed several motions, among which a motion to certify a class, which the court denied.
Can plaintiff file a pro se class action suit on behalf of other customers?
The court denied plaintiff's motion to certify a class because plaintiff was appearing pro se, and thus, was not an adequate representative. A layperson ordinarily does not possess the legal training and expertise necessary to protect the interests of a proposed class hence courts are reluctant to certify a class represented by a pro se litigant. Although plaintiff has the right to appear pro se on his own behalf, he may not represent another pro se plaintiff in federal court.