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2013

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Settlements

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Judges! Stop Deferring To Class-Action Lawyers, Brian Wolfman Jan 2013

Judges! Stop Deferring To Class-Action Lawyers, Brian Wolfman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The idea for this article came from the author's representation of a national non-profit consumer rights organization in a federal appeal challenging a district court’s approval of a class-action settlement. The organization's appellate briefs argued that the district court committed a reversible legal error when it deferred to the class-action lawyers’ recommendation to approve the settlement because, in those lawyers’ views, the settlement was "fair, reasonable, and adequate" (which is the standard for class-action settlement approval under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e)). The district court also deferred to the lawyers' reputations as talented and honest ...