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Event Description

On October 29, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission held a public workshop in Washington, DC on improving class action settlement notices for consumers.

The event addressed current practices and research related to class action notices, redress methods, claims rates, check-cashing rates, and similar issues. The workshop included several panels of experts representing a wide range of perspectives, including consumer groups, defense and plaintiff attorneys, class action administrators, and government agencies.

For more than a decade, the Commission’s Class Action Fairness Project has followed developments in class action cases to ensure that class action settlements in consumer protection and competition matters provide appropriate benefits to consumers. As part of its efforts, the FTC has monitored class actions; filed amicus briefs in appropriate cases; coordinated with state, federal, and private groups to gather information and opine on matters that merit FTC attention; and followed the progress of legislation and class action rule changes.

To further the FTC’s understanding of these issues and develop information to help improve settlement outcomes for consumers, FTC staff recently completed a staff report summarizing the findings of two studies involving consumer class actions: the Administrator Study and the Notice Study. In the first study, FTC staff obtained a sample of more than 140 consumer class action cases from large class action administrators. Based on the data collected, the FTC analyzed several characteristics of these settlements, such as notice methods and redress (i.e., compensation) amounts available, and how these characteristics relate to outcomes, including claim-filing and check-cashing rates. In the second study, the staff conducted an Internet-based consumer research study to explore consumer perceptions of class action notices, including whether consumers understand the options provided in such notices.

The workshop was free and open to the public.

  • 8:00-9:00 am

    Registration

    Enter at 7th and D Street, SW and proceed through airport-style security.

    9:00-9:10 am

    Opening

    James Kohm
    Associate Director
    Division of Enforcement
    Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC

    Welcome

    Laura Koss
    Assistant Director
    Division of Enforcement
    Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC

    9:10-9:35 am

    FTC Class Action Consumer Research

    Shiva Koohi
    Economist
    Bureau of Economics, FTC

    9:35-10:35 am

    Panel 1: Current Practices - Problems and Opportunities in Reaching Consumers


    Panelists:

    Cameron Azari
    Epiq

    Elizabeth Cabraser
    Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP

    Beth Chun
    Office of the Attorney General of Texas

    Hon. Jacqueline Corley
    Northern District of California 

    Todd Hilsee
    The Hilsee Group LLC

    Brian Perryman
    Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

    Hassan Zavareei
    Tycko & Zavareei LLP

    Moderator:
    Robin Moore, FTC

    10:35-10:50 am

    Break

    10:50-11:50 am

    Panel 2: Researching the Past and Predicting the Future


    Panelists:

    Nicole Christ
    FTC

    Brian Fitzpatrick
    Vanderbilt University Law School

    Alison Frankel
    Reuters

    Shiva Koohi
    FTC

    David Siffert
    Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law

    Richard Simmons
    Analytics Consulting LLC

    Shannon Wheatman
    Kinsella Media

    Moderator:
    Hampton Newsome, FTC

    11:50 am-12:45 pm

    Panel 3: Looking Ahead – Challenges and Opportunities For Increasing Consumer Recovery Rates


    Panelists:

    Elizabeth Cabraser
    Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP

    Beth Chun
    Office of the Attorney General of Texas

    Hon. Jacqueline Corley
    Northern District of California 

    Brian Fitzpatrick
    Vanderbilt University Law School

    Matt Garretson
    Signal Interactive Media

    Amanda Rose
    Vanderbilt University Law School

    Shannon Wheatman
    Kinsella Media

    Moderator:
    Robin Moore, FTC

    12:45-12:55 pm

    Closing Remarks

  • Request for Comments

    Interested parties may submit public comments electronically at Regulations.gov, or in paper form on these topics or other related topics through November 22, 2019. Paper comments may be mailed to Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20580, or they may be delivered to Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20024. Please write “Class Action Notices, Project No. P024210” on your comment so that it will be readily identified with this workshop.

    Comments will be posted on the roundtable’s public webpage.

FTC Privacy Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, and as a matter of discretion, we make every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments before posting them on the FTC website.

The FTC Act and other laws we administer permit the collection of your pre-registration contact information and the comments you file to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. For additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see the Commission’s comprehensive Privacy Policy.

This event is open to the public and may be photographed, videotaped, webcast, or otherwise recorded. By participating in this event, you are agreeing that your image — and anything you say or submit — may be posted indefinitely at ftc.gov or on one of the Commission's publicly available social media sites.