Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will take effect on Dec. 1, 2018, subject to Supreme Court approval and arguably no substantive area of law will be more impacted than federal class action litigation, in particular, the procedures for addressing objections to class settlements.

The Rule 23 subcommittee and advisory committee seek to achieve the following with the amendments:

  • Requiring litigants to provide more information regarding proposed settlements to the district court before approving notice of the proposed settlement to the class;
  • Clarifying that a decision to send notice of a proposed settlement to the class under Rule 23(e)(1) is not appealable under Rule 23(f);
  • Clarifying in Rule 23(c)(2)(B) that the Rule 23(e)(1) notice triggers the opt-out period in Rule 23(b)(3) class actions;
  • Updating Rule 23(c)(2) regarding individual notice in Rule 23(b)(3) class actions;
  • Establishing procedures to deter frivolous class action objections;
  • Refining standards for approval of proposed settlements; and
  • Adopting a DOJ proposal to include in Rule 23(f) a 45-day period in which to seek permission for an interlocutory appeal when the United States is a party.