In Desrosiers v. Perry Ellis Menswear, the New York Court of Appeals held today that, under New York state procedural law, all members of a putative, uncertified class must be notified of settlement or dismissal. (Since 2003, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, the rule is just the opposite, and notice is discretionary.) Here's a quick summary from the court's opinion:
CPLR 908 provides that "[a] class action shall not be dismissed, discontinued, or compromised without the approval of the court," and that "[n]otice of the proposed dismissal, discontinuance, or compromise shall be given to all members of the class in such manner as the court directs." On this appeal, we must determine whether CPLR 908 applies only to certified class actions, or also to class actions that are settled or dismissed before the class has been certified. We conclude that CPLR 908 applies in the pre-certification context. As a result, notice to putative class members of a proposed dismissal, discontinuance, or compromise must be given.