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September 22, 2008

Linda Mullenix to speak on Class Action Settlements at the international Conference on Collective Settlements, sponsored by the University of Milan

Professor Linda S. Mullenix, who holds the Rita and Morris Atlas Chair in Advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law, has been invited to deliver a paper on Class Action Settlements at a legal conference in Milan, Italy on September 25–26, 2008. The Conference on Collective Settlements, sponsored by the University of Milan, follows legislation in 2007 that, for the first time, allows class action litigation in Italy.

Italy is the first nation in the European Union to pass such legislation, a significant development in European law. The conference will bring together distinguished legal scholars from Europe and the United States to discuss how group and class actions are implemented in different legal systems. Papers produced for the conference will be published by the University of Bologna.

In addition to addressing settlements in class action litigation, Professor Mullenix will also discuss class actions procedures, potential abuses of settlement classes, due process protections for class members, and the heightened scrutiny of class action settlements in the U.S. after the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005.

“In class actions, settlements are very important because class actions almost never go to trial,” Mullenix said. “When you talk about class action litigation in the U.S., you are really talking about the processes by which they are settled.”

With a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, Professor Mullenix was Scholar-in-Residence at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy, in 2002. She was also the Fulbright Distinguished Senior Chair in Law at the University of Trento, Italy, in 2007, and she has maintained an ongoing relationship with the legal community in Italy.

“The class action rule has been in the U.S. since 1938, so we have seventy years of experience,” Mullenix said. “There is no other country that has anything like that length of experience in state and federal courts. For other countries embarking on or formulating class actions there is much to be learned from the American experience, both positive concerning resolving class actions as well as negative in addressing problems and abuses.”

Professor Mullenix recently published the second edition of her casebook on Mass Tort Litigation, which was the culmination of twelve years of research, and currently teaches both Mass Tort Litigation and Current Issues in Class Action Litigation at the University of Texas School of Law.

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Professor Linda S. Mullenix

Media contact: Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications Office, (512) 471-7330, or kfortune@law.utexas.edu