On April 26, , the Supreme Court approved amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which will take effect on December 1. These are the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended to December 1, 1. Click on any rule to read it. visory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Judi- cial Conference of the United States, prepared notes explaining the purpose.
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FOREWORD. This document contains the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to- gether with forms, as amended to December 1, The rules. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (eff. Dec. 1, ) govern civil proceedings in the United States district courts. Their purpose is "to secure the just, speedy. These are the Federal Rules of Evidence, as amended to December 1, Click on any rule to read it. Now with internal cross references.
Unless the court orders otherwise, the following are not stayed after being entered, even if an appeal is taken:. Consolidation; Separate Trials Rule Third-Party Practice Rule If the class action was previously certified under Rule 23 b 3 , the court may refuse to approve a settlement unless it affords a new opportunity to request exclusion to individual class members who had an earlier opportunity to request exclusion but did not do so. View All. At any time after judgment is entered, a party may obtain a stay by providing a bond or other security. The amended rule also specifies the standard the court should use in deciding whether to send notice—that it likely will be able both to approve the settlement proposal under Rule 23 e 2 and, if it has not previously certified a class, to certify the class for purposes of judgment on the proposal.
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Care should be taken to ensure that an order to file electronically does not impede access to the court, and reasonable exceptions must be included in a local rule that requires electronic filing by a pro se litigant. In the beginning, this authority is likely to be exercised only to support special programs, such as one requiring e-filing in collateral proceedings by state prisoners. B For b 3 Classes. For any class certified under Rule 23 b 3 , —or upon ordering notice under Rule 23 e 1 to a class proposed to be certified for purposes of settlement under Rule 23 b 3 —the court must direct to class members the best notice that is practicable under the circumstances, including individual notice to all members who can be identified through reasonable effort.
The notice may be by one or more of the following: United States mail, electronic means, or other appropriate means.
The notice must clearly and concisely state in plain, easily understood language:. The following procedures apply to a proposed settlement, voluntary dismissal, or compromise:.
The parties must provide the court with information sufficient to enable it to determine whether to give notice of the proposal to the class. B Grounds for a Decision to Give Notice. If the proposal would bind class members, the court may approve it only after a hearing and only on finding that it is fair, reasonable, and adequate after considering whether: A the class representatives and class counsel have adequately represented the class;.
C the relief provided for the class is adequate, taking into account:. D the proposal treats class members equitably relative to each other. The parties seeking approval must file a statement identifying any agreement made in connection with the proposal. If the class action was previously certified under Rule 23 b 3 , the court may refuse to approve a settlement unless it affords a new opportunity to request exclusion to individual class members who had an earlier opportunity to request exclusion but did not do so.
A In General. The o bjection must state whether it applies only to the objector, to a specific subset of the class, or to the entire class, and also state with specificity the grounds for the objection. Unless approved by the court after a hearing, no payment or other consideration may be provided in connection with:. C Procedure for Approval After an Appeal.
If approval under Rule 23 e 5 B has not been obtained be fore an appeal is docketed in the court of appeals, the procedure of Rule A court of appeals may permit an appeal from an order granting or denying class-action certification under this rule, but not from an order under Rule 23 e 1. An appeal does not stay proceedings in the district court unless the district judge or the court of appeals so orders.
Rule 23 is amended mainly to address issues related to settlement, and also to take account of issues that have emerged since the rule was last amended in Subdivision c 2. As amended, Rule 23 e 1 provides that the court must direct notice to the class regarding a proposed class-action settlement only after determining that the prospect of class certification and approval of the proposed settlement justifies giving notice. It is common to send notice to the class simultaneously under both Rule 23 e 1 and Rule 23 c 2 B , including a provision for class members to decide by a certain date whether to opt out.
This amendment recognizes the propriety of this combined notice practice. Subdivision c 2 is also amended to recognize contemporary methods of giving notice to class members.
Since Eisen v. But technological change since has introduced other means of communication that may sometimes provide a reliable additional or alternative method for giving notice. Although first class mail may often be the preferred primary method of giving notice, courts and counsel have begun to employ new technology to make notice more effective. Rule 23 c 2 B is amended to take account of these changes. Although it may sometimes be true that electronic methods of notice, for example email, are the most promising, it is important to keep in mind that a significant portion of class members in certain cases may have limited or no access to email or the Internet.
Instead of preferring any one means of notice, therefore, the amended rule relies on courts and counsel to focus on the means or combination of means most likely to be effective in the case before the court.
The court should exercise its discretion to select appropriate means of giving notice. In providing the court with sufficient information to enable it to decide whether to give notice to the class of a proposed class-action settlement under Rule 23 e 1 , it would ordinarily be important to include details about the proposed method of giving notice and to provide the court with a copy of each notice the parties propose to use.
In determining whether the proposed means of giving notice is appropriate, the court should also give careful attention to the content and format of the notice and, if notice is given under both Rule 23 e 1 and Rule 23 c 2 B , any claim form class members must submit to obtain relief.
The ultimate goal of giving notice is to enable class members to make informed decisions about whether to opt out or, in instances where a proposed settlement is involved, to object or to make claims. The court and counsel may wish to consider the use of class notice experts or professional claims administrators. Attention should focus also on the method of opting out provided in the notice.
The proposed method should be as convenient as possible, while protecting against unauthorized opt-out notices.
Subdivision e. The introductory paragraph of Rule 23 e is amended to make explicit that its procedural requirements apply in instances in which the court has not certified a class at the time that a proposed settlement is presented to the court.
Information about the opt-out rate could then be available to the court when it considers final approval of the proposed settlement.
Subdivision e 1. The decision to give notice of a proposed settlement to the class is an important event. It should be based on a solid record supporting the conclusion that the proposed settlement will likely earn final approval after notice and an opportunity to object. The parties must provide the court with information sufficient to determine whether notice should be sent.
At the time they seek notice to the class, the proponents of the settlement should ordinarily provide the court with all available materials they intend to submit to support approval under Rule 23 e 2 and that they intend to make available to class members. The amended rule also specifies the standard the court should use in deciding whether to send notice—that it likely will be able both to approve the settlement proposal under Rule 23 e 2 and, if it has not previously certified a class, to certify the class for purposes of judgment on the proposal.
The subjects to be addressed depend on the specifics of the particular class action and proposed settlement. But some general observations can be made. One key element is class certification. If the court has already certified a class, the only information ordinarily necessary is whether the proposed settlement calls for any change in the class certified, or of the claims, defenses, or issues regarding which certification was granted.
But if a class has not been certified, the parties must ensure that the court has a basis for concluding that it likely will be able, after the final hearing, to certify the class. Although the standards for certification differ for settlement and litigation purposes, the court cannot make the decision regarding the prospects for certification without a suitable basis in the record. The ultimate decision to certify the class for purposes of settlement cannot be made until the hearing on final approval of the proposed settlement.
Regarding the proposed settlement, many types of information might appropriately be provided to the court. A basic focus is the extent and type of benefits that the settlement will confer on the members of the class. Depending on the nature of the proposed relief, that showing may include details of the contemplated claims process and the anticipated rate of claims by class members.
Because some funds are frequently left unclaimed, the settlement agreement ordinarily should address the distribution of those funds. The parties should also supply the court with information about the likely range of litigated outcomes, and about the risks that might attend full litigation. Information about the extent of discovery completed in the litigation or in parallel actions may often be important.
In addition, as suggested by Rule 23 b 3 B , the parties should provide information about the existence of other pending or anticipated litigation on behalf of class members involving claims that would be released under the proposal. Another topic that normally should be considered is any agreement that must be identified under Rule 23 e 3.
The parties may supply information to the court on any other topic that they regard as pertinent to the determination whether the proposal is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The court may direct the parties to supply further information about the topics they do address, or to supply information on topics they do not address.
Subdivision e 2. The central concern in reviewing a proposed class-action settlement is that it be fair, reasonable, and adequate. Courts have generated lists of factors to shed light on this concern. Overall, these factors focus on comparable considerations, but each circuit has developed its own vocabulary for expressing these concerns. In some circuits, these lists have remained essentially unchanged for thirty or forty years. The goal of this amendment is not to displace any factor, but rather to focus the court and the lawyers on the core concerns of procedure and substance that should guide the decision whether to approve the proposal.
A lengthy list of factors can take on an independent life, potentially distracting attention from the central concerns that inform the settlement-review process.