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Releases in Class Action Settlements: Strategies for Defining, Negotiating, and Drafting Enforceable Relief

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, January 13, 2022

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will discuss what class action lawyers should consider when negotiating and drafting releases in class settlement agreements. The program will review various examples of acceptable and unacceptable releases.


Defense counsel, in particular, must think strategically about the scope and language of a proposed release. This exercise should not be an afterthought. Only released conduct arising out of the "identical factual predicate" as the claims in the underlying class litigation can and will be precluded, regardless of the words on the paper.

Kitchen sink releases of "including without limitation" "any and every kind" of claim can destroy a settlement that may have taken months or years to negotiate, and/or draw objections, in some cases, even from the Department of Justice.

The scope of the release is tied to the nature and scope of the relief granted and the risk of non-participating class members. Trial courts usually permit a class settlement to release a broader set of claims than those asserted in the class complaint. Counsel must identify and document the right balance.

Listen as the panel guides class action counsel through the best strategies for setting the scope of the release, negotiating it, and drafting it.



  1. Defining the goal of the releases
  2. Defining the scope of claims released
    1. Claims in the litigation
    2. Claims "arising from" or "related to" event, subject
    3. Unknown claims
    4. Future claims
  3. Defining the class or classes
  4. Identical factual predicate


The panel will discuss these and other vital issues:

  • What is the relationship between the scope of the release and the relief to the class?
  • How can counsel stay focused on the core issues of the settlement?
  • What is the "identical factual predicate" of the relevant claims?
  • Can releases ever be conditional?
  • Should different parties get or give different releases?
  • Can all claims be released?


Harder, Abby
Abby Harder

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie

Ms. Harder is an associate in the firm's Litigation Practice Group and associate co-lead of the firm’s Class...  |  Read More

Aphrodite Kokolis

ArentFox Schiff

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

Maatman, Gerald
Gerald L. Maatman, Jr.

Seyfarth Shaw

Mr. Maatman has a primary emphasis in his practice on defending employers sued in employment discrimination class...  |  Read More

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