177. This action is brought and may properly be maintained as a class action pursuant to the provision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a), 23(b)(2) and 23(b)(3). Plaintiffs seek certification of the following class and subclasses:
a)formerly enslaved plaintiffs who where enslaved postemancipation- all living African-Americans who were enslaved in the United States post-emancipation as a result of the lingering effects of the institution of slavery in this country.
b)Direct descendants of slavery whose parents were enslaved in the United States and who can identify an industry identified in the complaint;
c)Direct descendants of slavery whose parent(s) were enslaved in the United States and who can name a direct defendant who utilized plaintiffs' ancestor's labor or received a profit directly as a result of the parent's particular connection to that defendant;
d)Second generation descendants of slavery whose grandparents were enslaved in the United States and who can name an industry identified in the complaint;
e)Second generation descendants of slavery whose grandparents were enslaved in the United States and who can name a direct defendant who utilized plaintiffs' ancestor's labor or received a profit directly as a result of the grandparent's particular connection to that defendant;
f)All other subsequent generations of descendants of enslaved Africans who can identify the industry group in which their ancestor labored;
g)All other subsequent generations of descendants of enslaved Africans who can identify the specific defendant for whom the plaintiffs' ancestors provided services or whom a specific defendant profited from;
h)Third generation descendants of slavery whose great grandparents were enslaved in the United States and who can name a particular defendant;
i)All descendants of enslaved Africans who purchased product from the defendant corporations and who would not have done so had defendants' accurately described their involvement in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
178. The exact number of plaintiff class members is not known. Plaintiffs estimate that the class includes millions of African-American descendants of enslaved Africans and the plaintiffs estimate that the combined number of persons in each subclass is so numerous that joiners of individual members is impracticable. The number and identities of the class members can only be ascertained through appropriate investigation and discovery.
179. Questions of fact and law are common with respect to each class member. Common questions of fact and law include:
a)Whether defendants knowingly, intentionally and systematically benefited from the use of enslaved laborers;
b)Whether defendants wrongly converted to their own use and for their own benefit, the slave labor and services of the plaintiffs' ancestors, as well as, the products and profits from such slave labor;
c)Whether the defendants knew or should have known that they were assisting and acting as accomplices in immoral and inhuman deprivation of life and liberty;
d)Whether defendants have been unjustly enriched by their wrongful conduct;
e)Whether, as a result of this horrific and wrongful conduct by the defendants, the plaintiff class is entitled to restitution or other equitable relief, or to compensatory or punitive damages.
f)Whether plaintiff should be allowed to receive documents as a separate claim in instant action;
g)Whether or not defendants' actions constituted a crime against humanity for which plaintiffs is entitled to judgment in accordance with Third Party Liability issues;
h)Whether the defendants' acts constituted a violation of 42 U.S.C.S. Section 1982;
i)Whether the defendants' acts through theories of Third Party Liability constitute a violation of numerous torts;
j)Whether defendants' actions violate the Alien Tort Claim Act.
k)Whether the defendants engaged in unfair deceptive, fraudulent or unconscionable business or trade practices, acts, or omissions; and
l)Whether the defendants engaged in unconscionable or unfair methods of competition.
180. The claims of the individually named Plaintiffs are typical of the claims of the Plaintiff Class Members. Plaintiffs and all members of the Plaintiff Class have been similarly affected by the defendants common course of conduct and the members of each class have similar claims against the defendants. The claims of all class members depend on a showing of the defendants' common course of conduct, as described herein, which gives plaintiffs, individually and as class representatives, the right to the relief sought herein.
181. There is no conflict as between plaintiffs and the other members of the class with respect to this action or the claims for relief. Plaintiffs know and understand their asserted rights and his role as class representatives.
182. Plaintiffs and their attorneys are able to and will fairly, and adequately, protect the interest of the Class. Several of plaintiffs' attorneys are experienced class action litigators who are or will be able to conduct the proposed litigation. Plaintiffs' attorneys can vigorously prosecute the rights of the proposed class members.
183. Prosecution of separate actions by individual plaintiffs will create the risk of inconsistent and varying adjudications and will establish incompatible standards of conduct for defendants in that different Courts may order defendants to provide different types of accounting or take other inconsistent actions.
184. Prosecutions of separate actions by individual plaintiffs of other proposed class members not party to the adjudications will substantially impair or impede their ability to protect their interest in that, for example, defendants may exhaust their available funds in satisfying the claims of earlier plaintiffs to the detriment of later plaintiffs.
185. Defendants have acted and/or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the proposed class, making final injunctive relief and correspondent declaratory relief appropriate with respect to the class as a whole in that defendants have been unjustly enriched by participation in acts that were known to be immoral and inhumane, and defendants: (a) prevented and or refused restitution to the proposed class members, (b) prevented and/or refused to disgorge wrongfully gained and/or earned profits and benefits, or (c) refused to provide a full and complete accounting and disclosure of the extent of their aforesaid actions.
186. Common questions of law and fact predominate in the claims of all class members, including the named plaintiffs. These claims depend on proving defendants are liable for their acts and/or omissions based, in part, on evidence of a common scheme. Plaintiffs' and the plaintiff class members' proposed evidentiary showings would be based on the same documents and testimony concerning the defendants' actions.
187. A class action is superior to the other available methods for the fair, just and efficient adjudication of the controversy. Plaintiffs and the plaintiff class members have no interest in individually controlling the prosecution of separate actions and, instead are on the whole incapable as practical matter of pursuing individual claims. Even if individual class members had the resources to pursue individual litigation, it would be unduly burdensome to the Courts in which the individual litigation would proceed. Individual litigation magnifies the delay and expenses to all parties in that the Court system of resolving the controversies engendered by defendants/individual and/or common course of conduct. The class action device allows a single court to provide the benefits of unitary adjudication, judicial economy and the fair and equitable handling of all plaintiffs' claims in a single forum. The conduct of this action as a class action conserves the resources of the parties and of the judicial system, and reserves the rights of each class member. Furthermore, for most class members, a class action is the only feasible mechanism that allows them an opportunity for legal redress and justice. A large concentration of proposed class members is estimated to reside in this District and nearby states. The management of the litigation as a class would pose few problems for this Court.
188. Certification of the plaintiff class is appropriate under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) and also under 23(b)(2), 23(b)(3).