“Tom, wake up! A car just hit the house!”
Actually, it wasn’t a car. The new mining conglomerate just picked an early hour for setting off its first detonation at the new mine less than a mile from Tom and his wife’s house.
The Polite Thing To Do: Ask For Them To Stop
What can Tom and his wife do? Their first move is probably going to be picking up the phone with the mining conglomerate and asking for an accommodation (e.g. smaller charges, more-reasonable hours, etc.) to lessen the impact of the mining on the enjoyment of their home.
Now, there are two possibilities, either the mining conglomerate agrees to act like a good neighbor and modifies it’s behavior, or it refuses.
They Refused To Make Accommodations
But if the mining conglomerate tells Tom and his wife to go pound salt, what can they do? Nobody is going to file a lawsuit over a few explosions. The mining conglomerate just goes on with business as usual.
That is what a class action is all about: addressing illegal or unfair behavior that affects a number of people in exactly the same way.
Judicial Action Requires a Shared Impact On A Community
A Court can look at the case, determine whether the mining conglomerate is acting in a legitimate manner, and, if not, order the relief necessary. If Tom and his wife can prove that the mining conglomerate’s behavior affects a number of its neighbors, then the Court can make the mining conglomerate change it’s business practices so that it doesn’t affect other folks’ quiet enjoyment of their homes too.
This kind of situation is what the procedural tool called a class action is designed to address.