DOJ Signals New Interest in Policing Class Action Settlements

Reuters profiles the recent DOJ interest in class-action lawsuits and CEI’s objection in the “Wines ‘Till Sold Out” settlement: 

The Competitive Enterprise Institute represents one of the objectors to the wine deal. I asked CEI’s Ted Frank, recently lionized by The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board for exposing dubious billing practices by plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Anthem data breach class action, said he welcomes the Justice Department’s filing and would be more than happy to help DOJ identify other troubling class action settlement proposals.

Frank said he did not lobby DOJ to get involved in the wine case in particular, although he said he has had informal discussions with Justice lawyers about using their CAFA power. “Nothing was set up, but they’ve said, ‘Hey, let us know if you see a settlement that’s a problem,’” Frank told me. “We are happy to do that, especially if we can’t find a client who objects … The intent of the law all along was for (DOJ) to get involved.”

Brand said in her Federalist Society speech that the Justice Department receives CAFA notices on more than 700 cases a year, so it will take DOJ lawyers considerable effort to figure out when to oppose prospective settlements. But presumably those decisions will now be based on the merits of the agreements, not on mailroom delays.

“Whatever happens, It will be better than in the first 13 years of CAFA,” Frank said.

Read the full article here.