Class Settlements: Incentive Awards After Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, Increased Judicial Scrutiny, and More

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Thursday, December 17, 2020

1:00pm-2:30pm EST, 10:00am-11:30am PST

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, December 4, 2020

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will guide counsel through the emerging trend toward heightened scrutiny of class action settlements, including the recent, stunning rejection of incentive awards by the Eleventh Circuit. The panel will examine what the Eleventh Circuit's 2020 decision striking down the routine practice of providing incentive awards to named plaintiffs means to class action practitioners, both plaintiffs’ and defense counsel. The panel will also discuss strategies for counsel seeking approval of proposed class action settlements.


Courts are increasingly subjecting proposed class settlements to more exacting and heightened scrutiny, often taking a dim view of previously approved settlement practices and provisions. These changes have the potential to greatly reduce the incentive to use the class vehicle.

Class action litigators must understand these recent developments. Counsel must prove the elements of Rule 23(e) with more than boilerplate or conclusory arguments, and they must consider all elements of FRCP 23(e)(2), including their application based on the stage of the case at which settlement is proposed.

Of utmost importance is Johnson v. NPAS Solutions LLC (11th Cir. Sept. 17, 2020), which jolted the class action bar by holding that an incentive award for the named plaintiff violated Supreme Court jurisprudence. As noted by the dissent in Johnson, this holding could require named plaintiffs to incur costs well beyond ‎any benefits they receive from their role in leading the ‎class and thereby potentially put a damper on the filing of class actions.

Listen as our experienced panel of class action litigators examines this emerging trend and best strategies for responding.



  1. Overview of FRCP 23(e)
  2. Factors that could trigger heightened scrutiny of settlements, including:
    1. Notice and timing issues
    2. Clear sailing agreements
    3. Reversionary provisions
  3. Traditional incentive payments
  4. Validity of incentive payments after Johnson v. NPAS Solutions LLC


The panel will review these and other issues:

  • Which courts are applying increased scrutiny to class settlements?
  • In what ways is judicial approval more difficult to attain?
  • What is the effect of Johnson v. NPAS Solutions LLC, and how should counsel respond?


Aphrodite Kokolis
Aphrodite Kokolis

Schiff Hardin

Ms. Kokolis has a special practice emphasis on complex and appellate litigation, particularly the defense and...  |  Read More

Rutner, Erica
Erica W. Rutner

Lash & Goldberg

Ms. Rutner represents clients in a variety of complex commercial litigation matters throughout the country. Her...  |  Read More

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