In the case of a class action where liability is established by a court and the damages need to be calculated person by person, a Special Master would be appointed to figure out the individual damages for every person. But, there are different types of Special Masters. Sometimes there are Special Masters in State court where they conduct and decide discovery issues and help settle matters amongst the litigators so that you don’t burden the court with those type of matters.
The Special Master can come before or after the settlement amount is determined. For example, say the parties are trying to establish liability and the case had not been settled. The court may decide to appoint a Special Master to decide specific issues.
The court can also appoint a Special Master to assign damages before there is a settlement. Similarly, you could have a settlement between the Plaintiff Class and the Defendant for a certain sum, and then a Special Master could be appointed to determine the amount of individual damages suffered by the members of the class.