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March 20, 2019

Supreme Court Decides Frank v. Gaos

On March 20, 2019, the Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion in Frank v. Gaos, No. 17-961, declining to address whether the class-action settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(e), and instead vacating and remanding the case to the lower courts to address whether the named plaintiffs have standing in light of Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins.

The Court initially granted certiorari to address whether a class-action settlement that provides a cy pres award to third parties but no direct benefit to class members satisfies the requirement of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(e) that a class settlement be “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” But after the Solicitor General filed an amicus brief questioning whether any named plaintiff had standing under Spokeo, the Court asked the parties for supplemental briefing on the standing question. The Court decided that the courts below had not addressed the plaintiffs’ standing under Spokeo, and the Court vacated the decision below and remanded for the lower courts to address that question.

Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion.

Download Opinion of the Court.

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