Reading about Illinois class actions in the popular press, one might conclude that a few trial-level judges just make it all up as they go along. In fact, there is a complex body of Illinois law on the subject of class actions. Those wishing to learn it quickly should begin with Miner v. Gillette, 87 Ill. 2d 7, 428 N.E.2d 478 (Ill. 1981), which authorizes multi-state class actions in Illinois despite due process concerns.
By shepardizing Miner, it's easy to build a file of other important Illinois class action decisions. Some of these are--
Oliveira v. Amoco Oil Co., 201 Ill. 2d 134 (2002) (requiring an allegation that the plaintiff was actually aware of and deceived by allegedly deceptive advertising in order to meet the "causation" requirement of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act); Gordon v. Boden, 224 Ill.App.3d 195, 586 N.E.2d 461 (1st Dist. 1991) (approving the "fluid recovery" doctrine, which can be used when class members cannot be specifically identified to distribute a recovery to a similar class of victims); Clark v. Tap Pharmaceuticals, 798 N.E.2d 123 (5th Dist. 2003) (setting out standards for determining the adequacy of class representatives).
In the coming months, there will be two potentially important decisions from the Illinois Supreme Court on class actions, as the Court considers the appeals of Avery v. State Farm, 746 N.E.2d 1242 (2001), and the Philip Morris tobacco judgment. The Avery decision will be important, among other reasons, for what it might say about class action trial procedures, claims administration, and the applicability of a single state's law to the claims of out-of-state class members.