West v. Randall

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West v. Randall (29 F. Cas. 718 (R.I. 1820)) is one of the earliest class action lawsuit related cases in early United States federal case law. The decision was written by Justice Joseph Story while he was serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

West v. Randall involved a dispute over the estate of William West, a Revolutionary War general from Rhode Island and party in the first U.S. Supreme Court decision West v. Barnes (1791). According to the case, West died in 1814. In West v. Randall there was a dispute over who must be made parties to the lawsuit. The case is an important precedent because the modern class action lawsuit originated from equity actions such as this one where: "It is a general rule in equity, that all persons materially interested, either as plaintiffs or defendants in the subject matter of the bill ought to be made parties to the suit, however numerous they may be."[1]


  1. ^ West v. Randall, 29 F. Cas. 718 (R.I. 1820) (No. 17,424) (Story, J., on circuit)[1].