This month, the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure published a preliminary draft of proposed amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, governing class actions. The proposed changes to Rule 23, and the proposed Committee Note, appear at pp. 211-232 of the pdf file.
To my eye, most of the changes do nothing more than codify what is already standard class action practice and procedure. Only one of the changes stands out. Proposed amended Rule 23(e)(5)(B) would require court approval of any payment (or other "consideration") to an objector (or objector's counsel) to drop the objection. This would weaken professional objectors' leverage and perhaps deter frivolous objections.
Last week, the National Law Journal had an article (subscription) on this proposed amendment:
Many practitioners say they see the rules change as a means of curbing what they consider to be an abuse of the class action settlement process.
"What's new about that proposal is it basically says that an objector can't be paid off to drop their objection without approval by the district court," said Leslie Brueckner, senior attorney at Public Justice. "That could have a big impact because it could effectively halt the problem of so-called 'professional objectors,' who basically hold up class action settlements for their own pecuniary gain, by basically exposing that kind of practice to the light of day."
(Hyperlink added.) Comments on the proposed rule changes (which include changes to other provisions besides Rule 23) are due on February 15, 2017.