Devlin v. Scardelletti, 536 U.S. 1, 11 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 1 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

means of protecting himself from being bound by a disposition of his rights he finds unacceptable and that a reviewing court might find legally inadequate.

Justice Scalia rightly notes that other nonnamed parties may be bound by a court's decision, in particular, those in privity with the named party. See post, at 18. True enough. It is not at all clear, however, that such parties may not themselves appeal. Although this Court has never addressed the issue, nonnamed parties in privity with a named party are often allowed by other courts to appeal from the order that affects them. 5 Am. Jur. 2d, Appellate Review 265 (1995).

Respondents argue that, nonetheless, appeals from non-named parties should not be allowed because they would undermine one of the goals of class action litigation, namely, preventing multiple suits. See Guthrie v. Evans, 815 F. 2d, at 629 (arguing that allowing nonnamed class members' appeals would undermine a "fundamental purpose of the class action": "to render manageable litigation that involves numerous members of a homogenous class, who would all otherwise have access to the court through individual lawsuits"). Allowing such appeals, however, will not be as problematic as respondents claim. For one thing, the power to appeal is limited to those nonnamed class members who have objected during the fairness hearing. This limits the class of potential appellants considerably. As the longstanding practice of allowing nonnamed class members to object at the fairness hearing demonstrates, the burden of considering the claims of this subset of class members is not onerous.


The Government, as amicus curiae, admits that nonnamed class members are parties who may appeal the approval of a settlement, but urges us nonetheless to require class members to intervene for purposes of appeal. See Brief for


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