Virginia is currently one of only two states that does not allow class-action lawsuits in its courts. However, that could change soon as House Bill (HB) 418, originally introduced on January 10, 2024, seeks to create a class-action framework loosely modeled on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On February 9, HB 418 passed the House of Delegates and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Although HB 418 originally directed the Supreme Court of Virginia to “promulgate rules governing the joining, coordinating, consolidating, or transferring of actions pursuant to” the Act, an amended version now outlines requirements for certification (numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy) and delineates different types of classes, specifically authorizing those certified pursuant to Virginia’s Consumer Protection Act, limiting or precluding the need for implementing rules.

Currently, the only way Virginians can pursue a class-action lawsuit suit is if they have grounds to do so in federal court. However, federal courts across the country continue to divest themselves of cases, particularly those brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), following the Supreme Court’s salient Article III standing decision in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez.

HB 418 is entirely separate from Virginia’s Multiple Claimant Litigation Act, which, albeit seldom used, allows separate civil actions brought by six or more plaintiffs to be consolidated in certain circumstances.

Troutman Pepper will continue to monitor and report on HB 418’s progress through the Virginia legislature.