U n i t e d S t a t e s D i s t r i c t C o u r t
F o r t h e N o r t h e r n D i s t r i c t o f C a l i f o r n i a
procedural requirements on the approval of a class settlement, a district court’s only role inreviewing the substance of that settlement is to ensure that it is “fair, adequate, and free fromcollusion.”
A number of factors guide in making that determination, including:the strength of the plaintiffs’ case; the risk, expense, complexity, and likely duration of further litigation; the risk of maintaining class action status throughout the trial; the amountoffered in settlement; the extent of discovery completed and the stage of the proceedings; theexperience and views of counsel; the presence of a governmental participant; and thereaction of the class members to the proposed settlement.
. at 1026 (hereinafter the “
factors”). Additionally, when (as here) the settlement takes place before formal class certification, settlement approval requires a “higher standard of fairness.”
More exacting review of class settlements reached before formal class certification ensuresthat class representatives and their counsel do not secure a disproportionate benefit “at the expenseof the unnamed plaintiffs who class counsel had a duty to represent.”
see also In reGen. Motors Corp. Pick–Up Truck Fuel Tank Prods. Liab. Litig.,
55 F.3d 768, 787 (3rd Cir. 1995)(explaining that “[w]ith less information about the class” at the early stage before formal classcertification, the court “cannot as effectively monitor for collusion, individual settlements, buy-offs(where some individuals use the class action device to benefit themselves at the expense of absentees), and other abuses”).III. DISCUSSION
A. Fairness and AdequacyThis settlement was achieved through negotiations mediated by a renowned retired federalmagistrate judge following months of active, adversarial, litigation. The viability of the pleadinghad been tested through motion practice, and class certification issues were fully briefed. The partieshad engaged in substantial discovery. There is no basis to conclude that the negotiations were
The factual and procedural background of this litigation has been set forth in prior orders and willnot be repeated here.
Case3:11-cv-01726-RS Document359 Filed08/26/13 Page3 of 14