The issue in Seacor Holdings v. Mason was whether a party had “informally” opted out of a class action related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Acknowledging that a party can opt out of a class without strictly complying with specified procedures, especially if the party is unsophisticated and unrepresented by legal counsel, the Fifth Circuit found no abuse of discretion in not finding an opt-out here. “The gargantuan size and extraordinary complexity of this litigation therefore supports the district court’s decision. . . . . When the district court approved the Agreement, it noted the class had potentially 200,000 members and that over 1,700 individuals sent opt-out requests to the claims administrator. Given the size and complexity of this MDL proceeding, the court and parties should not have to intuit an opt out from vague statements made in one of thousands of filings before the court. To hold otherwise would allow class members to make ambiguous statements and motions while waiting to see if the outcome of the class action is favorable.” No. 15-30597 (April 6, 2016).
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