February 19, 2015 Articles

Courts Take Notice of Class Action Settlement Processes

Federal district and appellate courts have started setting new, more stringent standards.

By Robert DeWitte

As if settling class action litigation wasn’t already complex enough, common methods of providing notice to class members and settlement claims processes have recently come under the microscope, with far-reaching consequences for the future of settling class litigation.

It is perhaps no surprise that lower courts would begin to apply similar scrutiny to class action settlements in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent refinements to class certification law in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 277 (2011), and Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426 (2013). Indeed, even the Supreme Court itself has expressed its willingness to delve into the area if given an appropriate opportunity. See Marek v. Lane, 134 S. Ct. 8 (2013) (statement of Roberts, C.J., commenting on a class action settlement without granting certiorari).

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