In a class action suit, the class is represented by one or more of its members, often called a class representative or the lead plaintiff. The class representative and their counsel prosecute the case on behalf of the class, who have essentially ceded their right to sue the defendants to the class representative. The class representative serves as the legal representative of the class.
The class representative must share the same injuries of the class members and be a “typical” class member. For example, if a group of individuals have all been injured by a defective product, the class representative must also be injured by the same defective product. All class actions must be certified by the court as having met the requirements for class certification before they can be proceed as a class action.
The class representative is responsible for filing the suit, hiring and overseeing the legal counsel, consulting on the case and agreeing to any settlement. The class representative is the only party with the authority to reject or accept a settlement agreement.