Today, we at Class Action Countermeasures are proud to post an analysis of the recent Target litigation appellate opinion by members of our class action and data privacy groups: Laura A. LangeShawna J. English, and Bethany Lukitsch.

The $10 million settlement class in the Target data breach case was unraveled by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in a recent decision that will force the district court to address the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo v. RobinsThe Eighth Circuit remanded the case to the district court, finding that the lower court Continue Reading

A few weeks ago, the Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies held a conference on class action settlements in San Diego, to discuss best practices in the wake of the likely Rule 23 amendments. Like all of its conferences, this one was held under the Chatham House Rule, which dictate that you can repeat the substance of anything said but not the identity of the speakers.  The candor these rules foster is extraordinary, and lead to valuable discussions.  So, with that in mind, here are the five most important things attendees took away from the conference.

  1. Plaintiff-oriented amendments
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I’ve been busy this week with a number of things, but a few of them, including the upcoming amendments to Rule 23 and prepping for a Strafford webinar on Thursday, have me thinking about the proper role of objectors again.

I think I’ve mentioned before that a number of class action lawyers (especially on plaintiffs’ side) really don’t like those who come in and try to improve settlements.  Some of this is simple financial self-interest: barring a quick-pay provision, class counsel doesn’t get paid until the settlement is finalized.  But some of this is also actual distaste.  In … Continue Reading

In August, while we were all on vacation, beating the heat, or recovering from a busy first half of 2016, the Advisory Committee published the new proposed Rule 23 for public comment.
The proposed changes here fall into several categories:
Notice.  Rule 23’s notice provision gets amended to allow for technological change.
Preliminary approval.  Preliminary approval is dead.  Long live preliminary approval!  In other words, the Committee has taken a stand (in its Comment) that the moniker “preliminary approval” is misleading.  But it has explicitly enshrined a reference to the initial hearing where the court determines whether … Continue Reading

Frequently, a class action complaint will set forth an elaborate theory of why the defendant’s actions were negligent or wrongful, but fall short when trying to identify how that conduct has harmed the class members.  This kind of complaint invites a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the plaintiff has failed to demonstrate constitutional standing by identifying a “concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent” injury traceable to the defendant’s actions.

When these motions are successful, it’s a great day for the defense, but court dockets are littered with denied (or simply undecided) Rule 12(b)(6) motions challenging a plaintiff’s constitutional … Continue Reading

Year-end lists are funny things.  They take a sort-of arbitrary starting and stopping point, and then they cram a bunch of prejudices into a (usually) arbitrary number of items.  And then people take them kind of seriously.  But they can be handy ways of catching trends one did not see before.  And in a year that has seen the beginning of a new debate over the shape of Rule 23, looking at the trends in caselaw can be important.  This year’s cases include some pro-plaintiff and some pro-defendant, and some hard to quantify.  But most of them are notable … Continue Reading

Amending Rule 23 would add clarity to the settlement process and teeth to the protection of absent class members.  But to solve the real class settlement process, the Advisory Committee will have to look at why so many weak claims advance so far into litigation.

For the next few months, excepting my usual year-end posts, I am going to be taking a longer look at the various items on the Advisory Committee’s Study Agenda. And, in contrast to my usual stance in this blog, which tends to be “comment on the strategies, not the wisdom of the case,” I … Continue Reading

I don’t usually do guest posts–Class Action Countermeasures is largely a solo proprietorship–but Adam Schulman of the Center for Class Action Fairness spotted a new settlement tactic out in the wild that proved interesting enough to justify an exception. [Inevitable disclosure, since I have done some work for the Center, I have worked with Adam before.]  So, without further ado, Adam:

The Opt-Out Refund

As an attorney with the Center for Class Action Fairness, I spend a good deal of time evaluating prospective class action settlements for defciencies. (Disclaimer: I write this blog post only in my individual capacity, … Continue Reading

With one or two significant exceptions, I usually write about settlement tactics that don’t work. I do that for two reasons: (1) settlement tactics that work often lead to perfunctory opinions that do not discuss the tactics themselves, and (2) settlement is one of those areas where it’s better to know what to avoid.

This week, however, I’d like to focus in on a tactic that worked for the parties.

The Trans Union Corp Privacy Litigation–which involves allegations that the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA")–has been around in one form or another for 16 years, … Continue Reading

A brief one this week, involving a settlement that did not reach final approval. Dremak v. Iovate Health Sci. Group, Inc., No. 09md2087, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165225 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 19, 2013) involved an attempted settlement of personal injury class and labeling class actions involving products with hydroxycut [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxycut]. The proposed settlement involved $10 million in cash and $10 million in hydroxycut products. Any remaining cash after distribution would be distributed as "Additional Product."

The court was not impressed by the structure of the settlement.  As it stated:

The biggest problem with the proposed cy pres distribution in

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