The Federal Trade Commission today announced the agenda for the workshop, “Protecting Consumer Interests in Class Actions,” that it will co-host with the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics on September 13 and 14.
Class actions can be an effective way to remedy consumer injury and deter corporate wrongdoing. In many instances, they provide an important vehicle through which the private bar can resolve problems that government consumer protection agencies might not have the resources to pursue.
Class actions sometimes fail to serve these goals, however, leading to uncertain if not unfavorable results for class members. Perhaps most vexing are those cases in which consumers receive coupons or other benefits without clear and complete information by which to assess their value, while defendants obtain broad releases and class counsel receive generous fees.
The value of, and ethics questions posed by, class actions, as well as their benefits and effects on consumers and the courts, will be discussed and debated by a group of leading commentators, including judges, academics, lawyers, consumer advocates, and ethicists.
The abbreviated workshop agenda is as follows:
Monday, September 13
9:00 - 9:15 a.m. Opening Remarks
9:15 - 10:45 a.m. Panel One: The Use of “Coupon” Compensation and Other Non- Pecuniary Redress
11:00 - 12:15 p.m. Panel Two: Tools for Ensuring that Settlements Are “Fair, Reasonable, and Adequate”
1:45 - 2:45 p.m. Panel Three: Clear Notices, Claims Administration, and Market Makers
3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Panel Four: Class Action Attorney Fees: Compensating Lawyers while Protecting Consumers
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Panel Five: Special Ethics Concerns in Class Action Litigation
Tuesday, September 14
9:00 - 9:30 a.m. Opening Remarks
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Panel Six: Empirical Analysis of Class Action Trends: Current Knowledge and Future Research Agendas
10:45 - 12:15 p.m. Panel Seven: Class Actions as an Alternative to Regulation: The Unique Challenges Presented by Multiple Enforcers and Follow- On Lawsuits
A copy of the complete workshop agenda, including the names of confirmed panelists, and additional information regarding both the workshop and the FTC’s recent class action efforts are available at www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/classaction/index.htm.
Office of Public Affairs
John T. Delacourt
Office of Policy Planning
Robert M. Frisby
Bureau of Consumer Protection