Piché Paper on the Effectiveness of Class Action e-Notices

Catherine Piché of the University of Montreal has written The Coming Revolution in Class Action Notices: Reaching the Universe of Claimants Through Technologies. Here's the abstract:

This paper will address whether a correlation may be drawn between the types and modalities of notices sent to class action members and the rate of compensation of these members, based on data collected in 854 class action court files in Quebec superior court over a twenty year period (1997-2017). Notices are essential to fair procedure in all class action regimes, but it is difficult to know whether these notices have reached their intended addressee in such a way as to make them aware of the case and its potential distributions, and eventually allow for this distribution to be completed. If a collective approach to compensation is favored, class notices should aim to compensate at least 50% of the members. My hypothesis is that technologies will help doing just that. In this paper, I ask whether this hypothesis is supported by the data, and which forms of technological notices are actually most effective at reaching and compensating members. I argue that we have come to a revolution in class action noticing, a digital revolution. In traditional forms of notice, reduced cost has almost always meant reduced probability of achieving actual notice. By contrast, properly designed e-notices are potentially transformative because they serve to lower the cost of notice while increasing reach rates in time and space. With the support of empirical data, I demonstrate that cases making use of technological noticing serve to compensate members more efficaciously than those who rely upon traditional noticing (mail, newspaper notices), with a distribution (or take-up) rate of 69%.

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