Is the government about to make it harder for companies to settle consumer class actions? The Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch, in a Statement of Interest (Statement), has requested that a Judge set aside a proposed class action settlement that would enrich plaintiffs’ attorneys to the tune of nearly $2 million. Specifically, the DOJ argues that the settlement, in the form of coupons, would “transfer a massive $1.7 million windfall payment to plaintiffs’ counsel” and that such a payout outweighs the harm incurred by consumers. The DOJ, under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), receives proposed settlement notices from the participating defendants, and may issue a Statement of Interest to the presiding court if it believes a settlement is unfair or unreasonable. In Cannon v. Ashburn Corp., No. 1:16-cv-01452, 2016 WL 7130913 (D.N.J. Dec. 7, 2016), the plaintiffs alleged that a wine distribution member website, Wines…
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