Conventional wisdom says that for a defendant, class certification is to be avoided at all costs, and many defendants may assume that the best strategy for dealing with a certified class, short of settlement, is to find a way to get the class decertified. But it’s important to remember that a class action judgment has a preclusive effect on all class members if the defendant wins.
As a result, a defendant should always at least consider whether filing a dispositive motion or simply defending the case on the merits at trial may be a better strategy than seeking decertification. This may especially be true where there is a risk that individual plaintiffs will pursue their own suits even if the class action is not successful. If so, a successful defense of the class action may prevent even greater exposure, or at least the significant defense costs associated with defending numerous individual cases.