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Preclusion in Class Actions: How Judgments and Releases Can Prevent Future Litigation

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, April 15, 2021

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will guide class action lawyers in asserting or challenging the preclusive effect of class releases and class judgments on future claims. The program will review what trial strategies and release language result in the broadest relief and finality, how preclusion can be asserted or avoided by the parties' successors, heirs and assigns even decades after the settlement or judgment, and the effect of notice and other class action procedures on the enforceability of releases and judgments and the effect of broad releases on class settlement approval.


The existence of a prior judgment or prior settlement impacts both plaintiffs and defendants at both ends of the class action process. Plaintiffs' counsel must thoroughly investigate whether a prior judgment, release, or government action involving the defendant forecloses relief by disposing of a pivotal issue or entire claims. Mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, and the like complicate the investigation, especially years after these events.

Courts may approve releases that cover not just the claims that were or could have been asserted in the operative complaint but also related claims that could not have been asserted by the plaintiffs or were outside the court's jurisdiction. The effect of such releases is governed by the "identical factual predicate" rule that each federal circuit applies slightly differently.

The preclusive effect of a class action judgment on future claims and issues must be part of the trial strategy. The utility of a prior judgment or a release to stop future claims differs depending on who is attempting to assert preclusion and the context.

Listen as this experienced panel reviews the binding effect of class settlements and the preclusive effect of judgments on future claims by ostensible members of the prior class.



  1. Preclusive effects of judgments on class
    1. Claim preclusion
    2. Individualized claims
    3. Injunctive relief and future money damages
    4. Governmental actions
  2. Preclusive effects of settlements
    1. Claims that could not be brought
    2. Parties beyond the court's jurisdiction
    3. Issue preclusion
  3. Defense preclusion after Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc. v. Marcel Fashions Group Inc., 590 U.S. ___ (2020).


The panel will review these and other issues:

  • How does the identical factual predicate standard differ from the "same set of operative facts" test?
  • Does a court have the power to release claims beyond its jurisdiction to adjudicate?
  • Can defendants use a prior judgment or release against those who elected not to participate in the class action, objectors, certification issues, or merits litigation?
  • What is the kind of language in a release that will provide the broadest or narrowest releases?


Goodman, John
John E. Goodman

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

Mr. Goodman has represented clients in complex litigation for more than 25 years. His practice is principally in the...  |  Read More

Herrington, Robert
Robert J. Herrington

Co-Chair, Class Action Litigation Group
Greenberg Traurig

Mr. Herrington's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including class actions in the areas of false...  |  Read More

Jackson, Todd
Todd Jackson

Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow

Mr. Jackson represents employees in class action cases involving overtime pay, pension benefits and employment...  |  Read More

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