July 17, 2018 Articles

A Road Map to the Upcoming Rule 23 Amendments

Four core amendments address class notice, "frontloading" class notice, final settlement approvals, and professional objectors.

By Jonathan H. Beemer

In April 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court approved amendments to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing all class actions filed in federal court. Assuming Congress takes no further action, the Rule 23 amendments will go into effect on December 1, 2018. These are the first substantive changes to Rule 23 since 2003, and they are the culmination of over five years of review by the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, which included extensive public comment from private practitioners, public interest legal organizations, academics, and the judiciary. The amendments principally address the standards for class action settlement approval, as well as the recurring issue of serial objectors to class action settlements. While the amendments may not represent a radical change in federal class action litigation, certain components warrant close consideration by practitioners in the field going forward.

The Rule 23 amendments can be broken down into the four core revisions below.

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