24 Rev. Litig. 609 (2005)
The Professional Objector and Revised Rule 23: Protecting Voice Rights While Limiting Objector Abuse

handle is hein.journals/rol24 and id is 617 raw text is: The Professional Objector and Revised Rule 23:
Protecting Voice Rights While Limiting Objector Abuse
Mike Absmeier*
I.   INTRODUCTION   ........................................................................ 609
II.  CRITICISMS OF SETTLING OBJECTORS ARE OVERSTATED ....... 613
A.   The Nuisance Value of Objections .................................. 613
B.   The Transaction Cost of Objectors ................................. 616
C.  Objector Side  Settlements ................................................ 620
D. Objectors and Ethical Concerns ..................................... 625
III. THE PROBLEMS WITH EXISTING PROPOSALS ........................... 628
A.   Class-Action  Reforms ...................................................... 628
B .  Sanctions  ......................................................................... 629
C. Objection Screening and Due Process Concerns ........... 631
IV. REVISED RULE 23 AND THE PROFESSIONAL OBJECTOR ........... 634
V .  C ONCLUSION  ........................................................................... 636
I.     INTRODUCTION
In negative-value class actions,' lawyers often walk away
with enormous fees while class members have their claims
extinguished in exchange for small monetary recoveries or even
coupons valuable only if redeemed through the purchase of the
defendant's product.2 The typical class member in these negative-
value class actions generally lacks both the financial incentive and
the information required to monitor the actions of class counsel .
* JD Candidate, 2005. The University of Texas School of Law.
1. A negative-value class action is one in which the individual claims are so
small that individual litigation would be economically irrational. See John C.
Coffee, Class Action Accountability: Reconciling Exit, Voice, and Loyalty in
Representative Litigation, 100 COLUM. L. REv. 370, 429-32 (2000) (discussing
negative-value class actions).
2. See generally, Susan P. Koniak & George M. Cohen, Under Cloak of
Settlement, 82 VA. L. REv. 1051, 1053-57 (1996) (discussing abuses by class-
action lawyers); Lawrence W. Schonbrun, Class Actions: The New Ethical
Frontier, MANHATTAN INST. FOR POLICY RESEARCH, at http://www.manhattan-
institute.org/htm1cjm_30.htm (last visited Feb. 8, 2004) (stating that [l]awyers
may walk off with millions in fees while class members individually receive
pennies on the dollar for alleged harms).
3. See Edward Brunet, Class Action Objectors: Extortionist Free Riders or
Fairness Guarantors?, 2003 U. CHI. LEGAL F. 403, 428 (2003) (stating that there
is simply no reason to think that the small stakes class member will possess either

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