Dougherty Discusses Proposed Rule 23 Amendments

Shook, Hardy & Bacon Partner George Dougherty reviewed proposed amendments to federal class action rules in an article for Bloomberg BNA, concluding that the proposed amendments “highlight many practices that parties should already be following in settling class actions.” In “Proposed Amendments to Federal Class Action Rule 23 Place Premium on Providing Meaningful Information to Courts,” Dougherty explains key proposed changes to Rule 23 and recommends four best practices in class settlement:

  • Expect the court to require sufficient information to understand the settlement and why it is reasonable – including critical information about the expected claims rate;
  • Expect the court to be leery of reversionary settlements, especially those coupled with a complex claims process – the court needs to be able to examine the effectiveness of the proposed relief;
  • Expect to explain to the court why the form of notice selected is “better” than all other alternatives; and
  • Expect the court to want hard information – maybe even supported by expert testimony – about issues of notice, ability to pay, and the potential benefits of the settlement to the class.