I know there have been stories (and questions) about people who deliberately sued themselves, usually as a symbolic statement or satire.

But supposing Bob invents the designs for (Product), and then (Company) manufactures a bunch of them. Tons of people, including Bob, buy a (Product).

Unfortunately, (Product) is defective, and some of the people who bought it are granted class action status to sue Bob and (Company) on behalf of everyone who purchased the product (which seemingly includes Bob).

Is Bob automatically excluded from the plaintiff class if he's the defendant? Or does he have a duty to explicitly opt out of the class action? Or could he seriously just remain on both sides of the suit?

  • Isn’t Bob just as entitled to compensation and relief as everyone else Bob has wronged? I think Bob owes Bob an apology. Feb 12, 2021 at 2:40
  • Remember, the class action suit is against Bob’s company, not against Bob personally. Jul 15, 2021 at 15:10
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? How can a person sue oneself?
    – grovkin
    Jul 24, 2021 at 16:16
  • 1
    The suggested duplicate in no way addresses the question about a class action.
    – Ryan M
    Jul 27, 2021 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


In short, yes. In practice, the suit would be against Bob's company rather than Bob, but it is possible to be both the defendant in a class action suit and a member of the affected class. This can provide some evidence that the defendant did not knowingly cause the harms alleged, which might reduce liability somewhat, but not necessarily down to 0. Attorneys for the class could also seek to define the class in such a way that the defendant is excluded from it, but only where that makes sense. Any individual class member's recovery will necessarily be much smaller than the cost to the defendant of a settlement/award, so it doesn't always make sense to even try that.

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