Cal. Supreme Court says class-action objectors must become “parties of record” to appeal approval of a class-action settlement, rejecting federal rule

In Devlin v. Scardelletti, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a class-action objector may appeal a district court's approval of a class-action settlement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 without first intervening.

Today, the California Supreme Court rejected that approach in Hernandez v. Restoration Hardware for class actions in California state courts. The court's ruling was premised on statute and precedent:

The Legislature has limited the right of unnamed class members to appeal by expressly requiring that class action objectors who wish to appeal be parties of record who have been aggrieved by the court’s decision. [Code of Civil Procedure] (§ 902.)] Had [objector] Muller properly intervened in the class action or filed a … motion to vacate the judgment, and been denied relief, she would have had a clear path to challenge the attorney fees award (or settlement or judgment) on appeal. Muller offers no persuasive reason why we should create an exception to our long-standing rule, or overrule or distinguish Eggert [a decision that the court said demanded the result today].

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