Class Action Settlements

Proposed Changes to Rule 23: Electronic Notice and Efforts to Curb Abuses in Settlement Objection Process

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On this blog, we previously wrote about the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017, and identified its potential to bring significant changes to class action practice. That Act was passed by the House on March 9, 2017, based on a 220-201 vote, split almost entirely along party lines, and has now advanced to the Senate for additional consideration.  Whether the Act will become law remains uncertain, and we will continue to monitor future developments. In the meantime, however, it is worthwhile to take note of the proposed changes to Rule 23 itself which are also currently under consideration.

In August 2016, the U.S. Judicial Conference’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure published its proposed amendments to Rule 23. The amendments include a variety of changes concerning class settlement and notice.  This post will focus on two specific areas covered by the amendments: electronic notice to class members, and class settlement objectors. The proposals, if approved, could become effective

Class Action Settlements:The Long and Winding Road

As a speaker at ACI’s Drug and Medical Device Conference in New York last week, I chose the topic of class action settlements.  My paper for the topic expands on a blog post last year concerning practical questions every in-house lawyer should ask before agreeing to a class action settlement.  The expanded paper includes those questions, but also prefaces them with a more detailed explanation of the steps in the class settlement process and why the process typically takes many months or even longer.  Whether you are an in-house lawyer advising your business leaders whether to enter into a class action settlement, or outside defense counsel advising your client, I hope you will find the paper helpful.  It is linked here.