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‘Desrosiers’: Judicial Approval, Class Notice Are Required for Settlement of Uncertified Class Actions (New York Law Journal)

The City Bar, through its Council on Judicial Administration and Committee on State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction, proposed legislation that would reform and modernize the administration of class actions in New York’s courts. In 1975, New York enacted its current Article 9 for class actions, but the statute has not been materially changed since. In 2003, significant changes were made to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The report recommends that some of the changes to federal law be considered for Article 9 and states that amendments are “appropriate to improve the administration of class actions and to continue to restore New York to a leadership role in commercial litigation.” These changes have been endorsed by the Office of Court Administration Advisory Committee on Civil Practice and our committees have been working with OCA to advance the proposal in the State Legislature. The need for these amendments to the CPLR was demonstrated in a recent New York Court of Appeals case, which was highlighted in an article publish in the Law Journal by Richard Schager of the Council on Judicial Administration:  

New York Law Journal, January 23, 2018

‘Desrosiers’: Judicial Approval, Class Notice Are Required for Settlement of Uncertified Class Actions

By Richard J. Schager Jr.

“In a 4-3 decision last month, a divided New York Court of Appeals held that where an action brought as a class action is voluntarily dismissed, CPLR 908 requires both (1) judicial approval and (2) notice to the putative class, even where the class has not been certified, and even if no class certification motion has been made. Desrosiers v. Perry Ellis Menswear, 2017 NY Slip. Op. 08620, 2017 WL 6327106 (Ct. App., Dec. 12, 2017). In rejecting an appeal to overrule a 35-year-old First Department precedent, the court described changes proposed for CPLR 908 in two Reports of the New York City Bar and a bill introduced in 2016, and held that this was the proper approach to change the existing reading of the rule. 2017 WL 6327106 at *5.”

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