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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Can an individual who is a member of a class action law suit

Resolved Question:

Can an individual who is a member of a class action law suit "settle" independently of the suit coming to conclusion for the entire class? What type of concessions would the plantiff typically make if such a early settlement were possible? Is this a common practice? Does the defendent not appear to be admitting fault if such early settlements take place?

Thank you!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
Can an individual who is a member of a class action law suit "settle" independently of the suit coming to conclusion for the entire class?

A: Yes, but only if the individual formally notifies the court in a timely manner of the decision to opt out of the class action and sue in the individual's own name.

What type of concessions would the plaintiff typically make if such a early settlement were possible?

A: There is no uniform answer to this question. A competent answer would require a complete evaluation of the individual's unique circumstances.

Is this a common practice?

A: No. Very few litigants opt out of a class action, because the cost of trying to separately litigate is too great, as is the risk of loss. The only time that an opt out occurs is where the litigant's unique facts would give him/her a very large award, and the litigant is highly likely to prevail based upon the strength of the available evidence.

Does the defendant not appear to be admitting fault if such early settlements take place?

A: If a settlement occurs, it is confidential, so there is no public admission of liability. What the public may perceive is legally irrelevant -- though typically the perception is that a settlement means the defendant must have had some curability -- otherwise there would be no reason to settle.

Hope this helps.


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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

One more thing.

 

The situation I am referring to is not the "opt out" arrangement where the litigant would try to sue on their own.

 

Instead the question I am asking is this: would there be a situation where the defendant entered into separate small monetary "settlements" with individuals in the class action suit? Then these individuals would then remove themselves from the class action suit.

 

Is this an accepted practice?

Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
The defendant could try to do this -- there's no law that would prevent it from occurring. The class action law firm, obviously would attempt to try to keep the class action plaintiff's together so that they would not enter into an outside settlement.

And, there is a professional responsibility issue for the attorneys, because the defendant's attorney cannot communicate with any plaintiff without the consent of the class-action plaintiff's attorney. But, there is nothing that would prevent the defendant to communicate without its attorney, because parties are not prohibited from negotiating directly. with each other.

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33905
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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