February 2, 2012
Rhonda Wasserman on Secret Class Action Settlements
Professor Rhonda Wasserman (Pittsburgh) has posted to SSRN her article, Secret Class Action Settlements. Here is the abstract:
This Article analyzes the phenomenon of secret class action settlements. To illustrate the practice, Part I undertakes a case study of a class action lawsuit that recently settled under seal. Part II seeks to ascertain the scope of the practice. Part II.A examines newspaper accounts describing class action settlements from around the country. Part II.B focuses on a single federal judicial district – the Western District of Pennsylvania – and seeks to ascertain the percentage of suits filed as class actions that were settled under seal. Having gained some understanding of the scope of the practice, the Article then seeks to assess it normatively. Part III analyzes the policy debate surrounding secret settlements of civil suits in general, fleshing out the competing policy objectives served by public access to, and confidentiality of, settlement agreements. Finally, Part IV examines the statutory, logistical and policy-based constraints that call into serious question the legality, efficacy and wisdom of secret class action settlements
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Excellent publication. It is almost never in the best interests of the public for any confidential settlement of a tort. Confidentiality should be used only to protect the identity of certain persons from embarrassment or ridicule. Not to hide the veracity of allegations or the extend of damages.
Posted by: Matt Powell | Jul 22, 2012 7:01:07 PM