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Class Action Twofer

That doesn’t happen every day: a non-profit shop, Ted Frank’s excellent Center for Class Action Fairness, has two cert petitions pending in the Supreme Court, and both are on this week’s re-list watch.

Marek v. Lane presents the question of whether a class action settlement that provides cy prez relief that’s of absolutely no use to the class—and no other relief to that class—is nonetheless fair, adequate, and reasonable. Answer, no. (I’ve discussed the case in an earlier post.)

Here’s the QP in Martin v. Blessing:

Whether an objecting class member – whose antitrust claims have been waived by a settlement negotiated by class counsel appointed by a racially conscious class-certification order – has standing to challenge the class-certification order and, through it, the antitrust settlement.

By way of background: the district judge in this case appointed a class counsel who would promise to staff the case in accordance with the racial and gender “metrics” of the class. Why would the judge do that? Because he thought it was a good idea; because he thought he could; and because, apparently, he always does that. The Second Circuit (which, to me, looks more and more off the reservation) denied standing to dissenting class members (CCAF’s clients).

“Relist” isn’t cert, but it does mean (usually) that the justices are taking a careful look at the petitions. As they should.

(Disclosure: I serve as a member of CCAF’s Board of Directors).

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