Emerging Trends in Class Action Settlements in the Ninth Circuit
By GRACE A. CARTER, SEAN D. UNGER, & ANGELA J. MARKLE
Class actions are usually hard-fought, and a small but important number go to trial in any given year. But the reality is that, either before or after class certification, many class actions settle. For parties litigating in the Ninth Circuit, several recent opinions offer guidelines for crafting a class action settlement that will survive judicial review, as well as some warnings for practices to avoid. The Ninth Circuit's most recent class action settlement opinion, Lane v. Facebook, Inc., squarely addresses several key issues: the transparency of the overall agreement, the suitability of the parties' chosen cy pres recipient(s), and reasonableness of requested attorneys' fees. In addition, Lane and the cases that precede it reveal some "best practices" that parties should consider when facing settlement negotiations.