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n. in legal (not sociological) terms, all those persons in the same category, level of rights (e.g. heirs of dead person who are related by the same degree), or who have suffered from the same incident. Whether a person is part of a class is often crucial in determining who can sue on behalf of the people who have been similarly damaged or collect his/her share if a class action judgment is given. (See: class action)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

CLASS. The order according to which are arranged or distributed, or are supposed to be arranged or distributed, divers persons or things; thus we say, a class of legatees.
     2. When a legacy is given to a class of individuals, all who answer the description at the time the will takes effect, are entitled; and though the expression be in the plural, yet if there be but one, he shall take the whole. 3 M'Cord, Ch. R. 440.
     3. When a bond is given to a class of persons, it is good, and all composing that class are entitled to sue upon it; but if the obligor be a member of such class, the bond is void, because a man cannot be obligor and obligee at the same time; as, if a bond be given to the justices of the county court, and at the time the obligor is himself one of said justices. 3 Dev. 284, 287,289; 4 Dev. 882.
     4. When a charge is made against a class of society, a profession, an order or body of men, and cannot possibly import a personal application to private injury, no action lies; but if any one of the class have sustained special damages in consequence of such charge, he may maintain an action. 17 Wend. 52, 23, 186. See 12 John. 475. When the charge is against one of a class, without designating which, no action lies; as, where three persons had been examined as witnesses, and the defendant said in addressing himself to them, "one of you three is perjured." 1 Roll. Ab. 81; Cro. Jac. 107; 16 Pick. 132.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Several classmates who were unable to attend this year have also celebrated 60-plus years of marriage.
Weeks before the reunion, she asked three balikbayan classmates to bring back souvenirs to give to their classmates.
Until the last day of Kian, some of his classmates even thought that his death at the hands of three former Caloocan cops was only a joke.
Wails and screams of despair filled the air as her classmates visited her home to say their final goodbyes.
In the confessional statement, the accused stated that he fled the scene soon after shooting his classmate and did not look behind what happened after that.
ISLAMABAD -- A Pakistani family left the United States after their seven-year-old son was bullied and beaten by his own classmates in school bus allegedly for being a Muslim, according to US media.
Faisalabad -- A female student was allegedly gunned down by her classmates in Rachna Town area of Faisalabad over her refusal for illicit relations.
The classmate said: "Only eight years ago, he wouldn't say boo to a goose."
A boy, also 13, who cannot be named for legal reasons, led his female classmate to a quiet area and asked her if she wanted to "try sex".
According to Lisa Wolfe Clemente, the mother of a 14-year-old student at Ogden, her son's classmates created a team called "Jew Incinerator," of which they wrote: "We are a friendly group of racists with one goal- put all Jews into an army camp until disposed of." Another of the team's online messages read: "Heil!
Modine Manufacturing Company (NYSE:MOD), an engineered heating and cooling technology and solutions company, on Tuesday declared the formal introduction of the redesigned Airedale ClassMate single packaged vertical DX cooling and heat pump system.