As reported by Bloomberg Law, speakers at a recently held Federal Trade Commission workshop on improving claims rates in consumer class actions agreed that creating a government-run website to publicize and legitimize class settlements could increase the amount of money that class members actually receive.
The novel proposal, made by Vanderbilt Law Professor Amanda M. Rose, includes the creation of a government agency that would run a centralized website with information on all active class settlements. Professor Rose noted that having a government run agency responsible for sending notice to class members could improve claims rates as consumers might be more likely to trust mail or email coming from a government sender.
Plaintiffs’ attorney and Lieff Cabraser founding partner Elizabeth Cabraser stated that centralization made sense, but worried that putting the settlement process in the hands of the government could add expense and delay. “There is already a dependable source of funding for notice programs—the parties,” she said.
Cabraser alternatively suggested that having the settling defendants put settlement information on their individual websites or a centralized site would not only be cheap, but would considerably improve consumer confidence as well as the visibility of the settlement information. Lawyers who work for defendant entities immediately protested, saying “that’s a bad look for a company.”
About Elizabeth Cabraser
Name partner and co-founder of Lieff Cabraser, Elizabeth Cabraser chairs the firm’s personal injury and environmental litigation practice groups. One of the nation’s leading class action litigators and possessing unparalleled expertise in complex civil litigation, she has served as court-appointed lead, co-lead, or class counsel in scores of federal multi-district and state coordinated proceedings. Today, she serves in court-appointed leadership positions in several of the nation’s highest profile civil cases, including a solo leadership role in the VW “Clean Diesel” Emissions case, as well as lead positions in the GM ignition switch defect and Takata defective airbag cases, and the recently-filed Fiat Chrysler Jeep Dodge diesel emissions fraud litigation, Generic Drugs Pricing antitrust litigation, and the National Prescription Opiates litigation.