For the civil proceduralist in the United States the most perplexing problems of recent years have been presented by claims of large numbers of persons against large economic interests. A single error in manufacturing design can cause a relatively small injury to each of a large number of consumers; a misrepresentation in national advertising for such goods can have similar consequences; the polluting effects of a single enterprise can be dispersed among a large neighboring population. The result is that the stake of each potential claimant in the outcome of the litigation can be greatly outweighed by the magnitude of the wrongdoer's total potential exposure and by the expenses of litigating the substantive issues.
William B. Fisch, European Analogues to the Class Action: Group Action in France and Germany', 27 Am. J. Comp. L. 51 (1979)