Emory Law Journal


Georgene Vairo


Recent Supreme Court decisions have tightened up the standards for obtaining class certification and virtually eliminate class arbitration as well. However, while the Court has made it more difficult for plaintiffs¿ attorneys to use class resolution of claims as a prosecutorial tool, the lower federal courts appear to relax certification standards when the parties seek to certify a settlement class. Because of the preclusive power of a class action, which binds all class members who do not opt out, the class action remains a potent settlement tool. The 2014 Randolph W. Thrower Symposium panel that served as the foundation for this paper, ¿Binding the Future: Global Settlements and the Death of Representative Litigation,¿ asked, however, whether class settlements are bad for class members. This Article begins by analyzing the Supreme Court¿s certification decisions and agrees with most commentators that although class actions are not dead, the device¿s utility as a prosecution tool has been compromised.