40 years in legal administration services.



millions and millions

of claims administered over the last 40 years

Rust is a recognized leader in class action settlement administration
with decades of experience handling some of the largest and most
complex cases in history. Discover how we can help you, who will help
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THE LATEST


Breach Response Preparation
What We've Noticed


By Justin Parks


Companies used to think about how to respond to data breaches after they experienced one. But while many companies spend more time and resources working to prevent them from occurring, some still don’t have plans in place should a breach occur. Read More.

ERISA Settlements: Planning for Success
What We've Noticed

By Kim Schmidt, CPA and Justin Parks

The administration of settlements involving Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) allegations includes several aspects that, while not always addressed in settlement agreements or sometimes even considered by the parties, can affect the timing and cost of administration. By considering these factors sooner, ERISA settlement administration can proceed faster and at a lower cost. Read More.

Natigating PAGA Settlements
What We've Noticed

By Jonathan Paul

As Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) settlements proliferate, Rust Consulting offers California attorneys this summary of PAGA settlement administration based on our experience handling more than 30 PAGA settlements. Read More. 


Exhausting Post-Distribution Funds
What We've Noticed

By Kim Schmidt and Amy Lake

Contrary to initial instincts—how hard can it be to give away money?—exhausting settlement funds can be challenging … and costly. Whether due to lack of claims filed, inability to locate class members, or class members’ failure to timely cash checks, some portion of settlement funds inevitably remains uncashed as settlements’ check-cashing periods end. Read More. 


A Better Proposal Process, Pt. III

What We've Noticed

The topic of the second installment of our series “A Better Proposal Process” calls to mind the proverb “a stitch in time saves nine.” In it, we discuss how having a short conversation with one or two qualified administrators about your upcoming settlement could save you hours in comparing (and requesting revisions to) proposals, to say nothing of the time and money you may save on settlement administration itself. Read More


A Better Proposal Process, Pt. II

What We've Noticed

The topic of the second installment of our series “A Better Proposal Process” calls to mind the proverb “a stitch in time saves nine.” In it, we discuss how having a short conversation with one or two qualified administrators about your upcoming settlement could save you hours in comparing (and requesting revisions to) proposals, to say nothing of the time and money you may save on settlement administration itself. Read More


Series Introduction: A Better Proposal Process

What We've Noticed

Our clients occasionally ask us to assist them in developing RFP templates or to offer tips on the proposal process. A common refrain we hear from many of our clients—plaintiff and defense, private and public sector, across practice areas—is how challenging it can be to get proposals from prospective administrators... 
Read More


Accurately Reporting Notice to Courts
By Shannon Wheatman, Ph. D., President, Kinsella Media, and Alicia Gehring, Media Director, Kinsella Media 

While the industry publicly debates questions of notice—direct versus media notice; the appropriate mix of print, broadcast, and online delivery; acceptable minimum notice reach—a more troublesome trend simmers beneath the surface: increasingly, false information is being reported to courts. Presumably unintentionally, unqualified notice providers are making serious errors in their affidavits and declarations. Read More.


National Mortgage Settlement: Distribution Summary Report

By Kim Schmidt, Senior Vice President, Rust Consulting and Robert Beedie, Senior Vice President, Rust Consulting

The attorneys general and the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers agreed to the National Mortgage Settlement (“Settlement”) in 2012. This settlement—the second-largest civil settlement ever obtained by the attorneys general—provided more than $50 billion in consumer relief. The attorneys general selected Rust Consulting to administer the portion of the Settlement that provided $1.5 billion in cash payments to victims of unfair mortgage servicing practices. Read More.


Law360 Article: “Mixed Media: A Smarter Approach to Class Action Notice”

By Shannon Wheatman, Ph. D., President, Kinsella Media, and Alicia Gehring, Media Director, Kinsella Media 

The flash of exciting technology, evolving media habits, and — let’s be honest — the eternal quest for lower costs tempts class action practitioners to abandon “outdated” media tools for providing class notice. But a rush to lean too heavily on the newer tools available via digital and social media can leave substantial segments of the class without due process. Rather than throwing out the old tools to make room, experienced practitioners are simply using a bigger toolbox. Read more.


Estimating Claims – What Every Attorney Should Know
By Shannon Wheatman, Ph. D., President, Kinsella Media, and Tiffaney Janowicz, Esq., Senior Vice President, Rust Consulting

“How many claims should we expect?”

Whether to calculate risk, determine settlement value, or simply ensure the approval of the settlement and attorneys’ fees, this question has become increasingly common—and increasingly critical. It is impossible to predict a particular claims filing rate, but qualified administrators understand the different factors that impact claims rates and, based on their experience with these factors, offer the parties reasonable claims estimates. Read more.


Increasing Judicial Attention to Claims-Filing Rates
By Belinda Macauley, Esq., Vice President, Kinsella Media, and Tiffaney Janowicz, Senior Vice President, Rust Consulting

Courts are increasingly focused on absent class member participation in class action settlements. In recent years, courts have cited low claims rates among the reasons for rejecting or reversing final approval of a settlement or for reducing plaintiff attorney fee awards.

Several examples of these cases appear below; please contact us for a more detailed list that includes additional cases. The claims rate—actual or anticipated—was not the sole dispositive factor in most of these decisions, but it was a significant focus of these courts. And as that focus among judges expands, it coincides with a time when it is much more difficult to get potential claimants’ attention in a fragmented media universe or through a single direct communication, whether mailed or emailed. Read more.



Tax Treatment of Qualified Settlement Funds – Navigating the Changes
By Eric W. Bishop, CMA, and Jonathan D. Paul

Qualified Settlement Funds (“QSFs”) have long been considered advantageous tools for handling funds associated with class action settlements, due in part to their simplification of tax calculations and reporting, which can streamline settlement distribution. However, certain states—most notably California—have changed their tax treatment of QSFs which can complicate the administration of labor and employment settlement funds and potentially shift some of the tax reporting duties and burdens to defendant-employers. Read more.



The Case for Simplified Notice and Claims
By Belinda Macauley, Vice President, Kinsella Media, and Tiffaney Janowicz, Senior Vice President, Rust Consulting

In a decision on June 2, 2014, Judge Posner, writing for a unanimous Seventh Circuit panel, heavily criticized various aspects of a class action settlement related to a line of windows manufactured by Pella. In addition to rejecting the settlement and removing Lead Counsel and the lead Class Representative, the Court criticized:

  • The length and complexity of the detailed notice, which it characterized as “incomplete and misleading,” “not neutral,” and a potential barricade to Class Members even attempting to file claims; and
  • The length of the claim forms (12 or 13 pages depending on claim type) and their complex requirements. “Both forms require a claimant to submit a slew of arcane data . . . [and] are so complicated that Pella could reject many of them on the ground that the claimant had not filled out the form completely and correctly.” Read more.



Tracking Ted...
By Belinda Macauley, Vice President, Kinsella Media, and Tiffaney Janowicz, Senior Vice President, Rust Consulting

Ted Frank founded the non-profit Center for Class Action Fairness (“CCAF”) in 2009 to challenge class action settlements. CCAF claims to have reduced attorney fee awards in several cases by a total of $260 million. Whatever counsel thinks about the substance or motivation of CCAF’s objections, most want to avoid them altogether if possible.

CCAF’s signature argument is that plaintiff attorney fee requests are excessive relative to the value of individual or overall class benefits. CCAF often objects to other issues in support of that overall argument. Summarized below are some suggestions to help strengthen settlements against those CCAF objections. Read more.


Cutting Through the Clutter: Eight Tips for Capturing Class Members’ Attention and Increasing Response
By Shannon R. Wheatman, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Kinsella Media, LLC

The media landscape is evolving at an extraordinary rate as technology advances and consumers change the ways in which they access information. Increased fragmentation of media audiences has created a new reality where we have to find more creative ways to engage audiences to increase response.

Sixty years ago, an ad running on one of the three major networks could reach nearly 70 percent of the viewing audience. In comparison, the highest rated show in 2013, Super Bowl XLVII, reached only 35 percent of the viewing audience. That year, regularly aired programs, such as Sunday Night Football, reached 7 percent and the highest rated non-sporting programs only reached 4-5 percent. Read more.


Privacy Policies: How to Effectively Communicate with Consumers and Avoid Judicial and Regulatory Scrutiny
By Shannon Wheatman & Michelle Ghiselli

With rapidly changing technologies and an increased focus on consumer privacy, it is now more important than ever for businesses to make sure that their privacy policies and other legal disclosures are written clearly, concisely, and transparently. If you conduct business with or on behalf of consumers, then you collect, use, and share at least some type of personal information about your customers. While the collection, sharing, and use of consumer data are widespread, consumers do not understand the extent of this data collection and use – and therefore cannot make informed decisions regarding it.

In many cases, customers provide information directly by ordering products, contacting a company, providing information on a company’s website, checking a box, or taking some similar action. Many companies, though, collect much more information without relying on the customer’s input. Read more.


Efficient, Cost-Effective Notification and Administration in Antitrust Class Actions
By Belinda Macauley, Tiffaney Janowicz and Kendall S. Zylstra

Planning for and managing the costs of notification and administration are often critical considerations for attorneys involved in antitrust class action litigation. Parties can be proactive prior to settlement to ensure that class members are notified in the most effective ways possible, and that their benefits are distributed efficiently. By working with a notice expert and experienced claims administrator—early in the litigation process—these goals can be accomplished cost-effectively and efficiently, even given the typical complexity of antitrust cases.

This article discusses ways in which counsel in both direct and indirect purchaser class cases can make decisions that will ensure notification and administration costs are as predictable and manageable as possible. Read more.


Traditional and New Media in Class Action Notice: The State of Play — Winter 2014
By Alicia Gehring, Media Director, Kinsella Media, LLC

Every so often we set out to capture the current climate of the media ecosystem. This is always an exciting if daunting task. We attempt to wade through the enthusiasm and novelty created by the introduction of new products and web applications and attempt to uncover the value of these devices and activities for communication.

Just as media planners seek to separate the signal from the noise in the evolving media space, the consumer too is buried in messages: RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, Facebook status updates, Yelp reviews. Unedited, user-generated-content leaves it up to the reader to ascertain the validity of each communication. Individual exposure, awareness, and engagement will vary significantly. This has the result of fractionalizing most of the messaging; there is little mass communication. Read more.


Recent Court Decisions Indicate Greater Judicial Scrutiny of Class Notice Programs
By Belinda Macauley, Vice President, Kinsella Media, and Tiffaney Janowicz, Senior Vice President, Rust Consulting

Every so often we set out to capture the current climate of the media ecosystem. This is always an exciting if daunting task. We attempt to wade through the enthusiasm and novelty created by the introduction of new products and web applications and attempt to uncover the value of these devices and activities for communication.

Just as media planners seek to separate the signal from the noise in the evolving media space, the consumer too is buried in messages: RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, Facebook status updates, Yelp reviews. Unedited, user-generated-content leaves it up to the reader to ascertain the validity of each communication. Individual exposure, awareness, and engagement will vary significantly. This has the result of fractionalizing most of the messaging; there is little mass communication. Read more.


Buyer Beware: Eight Pitfalls That Can Jeopardize Your Class Action Notice Program
By Katherine Kinsella, Kinsella Media, LLC

In class action settlements, both defense and plaintiff attorneys try to anticipate any circumstances that could jeopardize final approval, especially after lengthy litigation and protracted negotiations. The effectiveness of class action notice programs is becoming a focus of many courts as well as objectors. In particular, recent court rulings are questioning the adequacy of notice programs as well as the size of attorneys’ fees in comparison to the amount being distributed to class members.

Over the past decade, the number of class action administrators has proliferated with many holding themselves out as “notice experts” without the requisite qualifications or experience to ensure that due process standards are met.

Here are some of the common notice pitfalls that class action attorneys should avoid if they want to benefit from the age-old lesson of “buyer beware.” Read more.


Majority of Class Action Publication Notices Fail to Satisfy Rule 23 Requirements
By 
Shannon R. Wheatman, Ph.D. and Terri R. LeClercq, Ph.D.

On December 1, 2003, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Rule 23) was amended to require that class action notices in federal court “clearly and concisely state in plain, easily understood language” the information that class members need to make an informed decision. In 2000, the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States had solicited assistance from theFederal Judicial Center (FJC), the research and education agency of the federal judicial system, to draft model notices that would satisfy the plain language requirement.

In this article, notice expert Dr. Shannon R. Wheatman and legal writing expert Dr. Terri R. LeClercq, who worked with the FJC for a number of years to develop the model notices, explain the continuing problems with poorly worded and poorly designed notices. Read more.


Plain Language Primer for Class Action Notice
By Rust Consulting and Kinsella Media

What is Plain Language?

As a result of the 2003 revisions to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure prepared by the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, Rule 23(c)(2) now requires class notices be written in “plain, easily understood language.”

Although the revisions to Rule 23(c)(2) focus entirely on language, plain language, or “plain English,” is more than just simplified language, eliminating legalese, jargon and complex language. Plain language is an approach to communicating based on who the audience is and how best to deliver an understandable message. Read more.


The Plain Language Tool Kit for Class Action Notice
By Kinsella Media

The Judicial Conference of the United States approved revisions to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure prepared by the Conference’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. These revisions went into effect on December 1, 2003. The changes to Rule 23(c) (2) require that class action notices be written in “plain, easily understood language.”

What is Plain Language?

The Committee focused entirely on language. However, plain language, or “plain English” as defined by practitioners, is not just simplified language that eliminates legalese, jargon and complex language. It is an approach to communicating with a reader based on who the reader is and how to deliver an understandable message to that individual. Read more.


Quantifying Notice Results In Consumer, Mass Tort and Product Liability Class Actions
By Kinsella Media

Federal class action rules require close judicial supervision of class action litigation and, in particular, notice to absent, and often unwitting, class members whose rights are being adjudicated. The Federal Rules require “the best notice that is practicable under the circumstances, including individual notice to all members who can be identified through reasonable effort.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(c)(2)(B). The Eisen case, as well as subsequent cases, makes clear that this requirement is quite unforgiving, as “[t]here is nothing in Rule 23 to suggest that the notice requirements can be tailored to fit the pocketbooks of particular plaintiffs.” Read more.




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Dec 08

Miami Law Class Action & Complex Litigation Forum