In August 2016, the US Judicial Conference’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (“Committee”) published proposed amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 governing class actions. The proposed amendments were available for public comment from August 12, 2016 through February 15, 2017. The Committee held several public hearings to discuss the proposed amendment in late 2016 and early 2017. The proposed changes were submitted to the Supreme Court on October 4, 2017. If the Supreme Court accepts the Committee’s proposal, the changes will become effective on December 1, 2018.
Proposed changes and practical implications
The proposed amendments are intended to modernize the notice process, to allow for notice to class members via electronic communications; impose affirmative obligations on a court to consider specific factors relevant to the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of a proposed settlement; to curb abuses from “bad faith” objectors; and clarify that certain orders granting “preliminary approval” of class certification may not be appealed.. Each is summarized briefly below.