Abuse in Plaintiff Class Action Settlements: The Need for a Guardian During Pretrial Settlement Negotiations

This Note explores the problem of abuse of the class action device during the pretrial settlement process. Part I analyzes the underlying sources of potential abuse in pretrial settlement negotiations. Part II assesses the adequacy of the standards currently used by courts to detect collusive class action settlements. Part III concludes that the appointment of a neutral third-party guardian to oversee the pretrial negotiation process furthers the judicial policy of encouraging settlements while protecting the interests of the absentee class.