When it comes to class action lawsuits, there are certain rules that must be followed in order to ensure that the process is fair and efficient.
Rule 23 (e) (A)resolves the ambiguity in the reference of the former Rule 23 (e) to the dismissal or commitment of “a class action”. This rule states that the court must decide whether to certify the group “as soon as possible”, and orders that a lawyer from the group be appointed in the order that certifies the group. The court must also indicate to the members of the group the best possible notification under the circumstances, including individual notification to all members who can be identified through reasonable effort. In cases where Rule 23 (e) provides for the approval of the agreement, the notification of the motion for fees from the group lawyer must be combined with the notification of the proposed agreement, and the provision relating to notification to the group parallels the notification requirements under Rule 23 (e).
Group representatives cannot order class lawyers to accept or reject a settlement proposal. Likewise, if a class has not been certified, the parties must ensure that the court has a basis for concluding that it is likely that, after the final hearing, it will be able to certify the class. In some situations, there may be a basis for awarding compensation to other lawyers whose work has produced a beneficial outcome for the group, such as lawyers who acted on behalf of the group prior to certification but who were not appointed group lawyers, or lawyers who represented those who opposed a proposed settlement under Rule 23 (e) or the motion for fees from the group's lawyer. Action or inaction is directed at a class in the sense of this subdivision, even if it has had an effect or is threatened only in relation to one or a few members of the class, provided that it is based on reasons that have a general application to the class. It is important to understand these rules when considering appeals in class action lawsuits. Knowing how these rules apply can help ensure that all parties involved are treated fairly and efficiently throughout the process.