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Class Action Settlement Process

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A class action settlement impacts not only the interests of the parties that negotiate the settlement, but also a much larger number of absent class members. It is very important that the named parties take the steps to make sure the court approves a fair settlement.

Class Action Settlement Step One:

With class actions settlements, you first seek preliminary approval from the judge. During this step, the court will ask for specific information about the settlement. The judge will grant preliminary approval if the settlement is seen as fair and adequate for the class members. At this point, the settlement is public, but there is no money available yet. 

Step Two:

Once the judge grants preliminary approval, you have to see what the class thinks about the proposed settlement. This is where class members will get emails and letters outlining the terms of the settlement. Sometimes class members will have to opt in. The goal is to reach as many class members in this step as possible. 

Step Three:

The results of the notice process are brought forward to the judge, who then decides whether the settlement should be finally approved. The judge will review the terms and once again make sure they are fair and adequate for class members and all parties involved. Only at final approval does the judge evaluate a request by the class counsel to receive attorney fees as part of the class action settlement.

Step Four:

Once the final settlement approval goes through, checks will be sent out to the class members. Generally checks are sent within 30-60 days of approval becoming finalized. After this, just wait and cash your check if you are one of the class members. 

Class Action Attorneys

If you have any questions regarding the class action settlement process, feel free to reach out to Maginnis Howard’s class action attorneys by phone (919.526.0450) or by email (

Our firm obtained final approval in five class action settlements from state and federal courts in 2020 and have several more pending final approval for 2021. We are happy to assist in any way we can.