Class Settlement Releases Under Siege

AuthorBarry Glaspell
Class Settlement Releases Under Siege
Barry Glaspell
AbstrAct: The scope of a class action release often becomes the focal
point of interest for a settlement approval judge. Careful judicial scrutiny
should be given to ensure the release, as applied to absent class members,
is neither unfair nor overbroad. So-called “future conduct release,” in par-
ticular, may need to be narrowed or clarif‌ied as a condition of settlement
approval. Detailed attention to the terms of the settlement release by the
class action settlement approval judge is likely to enhance the settlement’s
robustness in the face of subsequent attack by those seeking to “double
dip” the litigation process. While post-settlement attempts by class action
releasors to sue released defendants will fail most of the time, unique con-
stitutional law and rule of law issues arise when a government-releasor
subsequently enacts legislation purporting to override a class settlement.

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