Devlin v. Scardelletti, 536 U.S. 1, 14 (2002)

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14

DEVLIN v. SCARDELLETTI

Opinion of the Court

ing duplicative appeals. Fed. Rule App. Proc. 3(b)(2). If the resolution of any of these issues should turn out to be complex in a given case, there is little to be gained by requiring a district court to consider these issues, which are the type of issues (standing to appeal, waiver of objections below, and consolidation of appeals) typically addressed only by an appellate court. As such determinations still would most likely lead to an appeal, such a requirement would only add an additional layer of complexity before the appeal of the settlement approval may finally be heard.

Nor do we agree with the Government that, regardless of the desirability of an intervention requirement for effective class management, the structure of the rules of class action procedure requires intervention for the purposes of appeal. According to the Government, intervention is the method contemplated under the rules for nonnamed class members to gain the right to participate in class action proceedings. We disagree. Just as class action procedure allows non-named class members to object to a settlement at the fairness hearing without first intervening, see supra, at 8-9, it should similarly allow them to appeal the District Court's decision to disregard their objections. Moreover, no federal statute or procedural rule directly addresses the question of who may appeal from approval of class action settlements, while the right to appeal from an action that finally disposes of one's rights has a statutory basis. 28 U. S. C. 1291.

IV

We hold that nonnamed class members like petitioner who have objected in a timely manner to approval of the settlement at the fairness hearing have the power to bring an appeal without first intervening. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

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