The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 provides, at 28 U.S.C.A. § 1715(b), for notice of class action settlements to be given by the defendant to the appropriate federal and state attorneys:
In General.— Not later than 10 days after a proposed settlement of a class action is filed in court, each defendant that is participating in the proposed settlement shall serve upon the appropriate State official of each State in which a class member resides and the appropriate Federal official, a notice of the proposed settlement consisting of—
(1) a copy of the complaint and any materials filed with the complaint and any amended complaints (except such materials shall not be required to be served if such materials are made electronically available through the Internet and such service includes notice of how to electronically access such material);
(2) notice of any scheduled judicial hearing in the class action;
(3) any proposed or final notification to class members of—
(A) (i) the members’ rights to request exclusion from the class action; or
(ii) if no right to request exclusion exists, a statement that no such right exists; and
(B) a proposed settlement of a class action;
(4) any proposed or final class action settlement;
(5) any settlement or other agreement contemporaneously made between class counsel and counsel for the defendants;
(6) any final judgment or notice of dismissal;
(A) if feasible, the names of class members who reside in each State and the estimated proportionate share of the claims of such members to the entire settlement to that State’s appropriate State official; or
(B) if the provision of information under subparagraph (A) is not feasible, a reasonable estimate of the number of class members residing in each State and the estimated proportionate share of the claims of such members to the entire settlement; and
(8) any written judicial opinion relating to the materials described under subparagraphs (3) through (6).
An order giving final approval of a proposed settlement may not be issued earlier than 90 days after the later of the dates on which the appropriate federal official and the appropriate state official are served with the required notice. 28 U.S.C.A. § 1715(d). If the notices are not provided, a class member may choose not to be bound by a settlement agreement or consent decree in a class action. Take it from a defense attorney whom we will not name: This is one of those many lessons in life that are best learned by observing the mistakes of others, rather than learning from one's own mistakes.