The Role of the Judge in Non-Class Settlements
13 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2013 Last revised: 10 Sep 2013
Date Written: February 13, 2013
This commentary argues that judges lack the authority, as a general matter, to approve or reject non-class settlements. While judges overseeing mass litigation can set the stage for settlement by instituting phased discovery, scheduling bellwether trials, and other methods, they should respect the line between facilitation of settlement and control over settlement terms. The paper was presented in response to Judge Alvin Hellerstein’s and his special masters' account of their handling of the September 11 clean-up litigation.
Keywords: class action, quasi-class, aggregate settlement, September 11, World Trade Center, bellwether trial, mass tort, Hellerstein
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