U.S. Senate to take up Class Action Reform

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 29, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Over the next month, the U.S. Senate will consider “The Class Action Fairness Act of 2003” (S. 274)—a moderate solution to the lawsuit abuse that is clogging state courts, hindering product innovation, denying real benefits to harmed consumers, and leading to judgments that contradict the laws of other states.

S. 274: Real reform that restores fairness and balance to the legal system
•Alleviates state court gridlock, and addresses the unfair practice of “forum shopping” by moving large class actions, involving litigants from multiple states, to federal court.

•Reduces frivolous and duplicate lawsuits by applying consistent national standards (not the standards of the most “plaintiff friendly” state court) to large, multi-state cases.

•Protects consumers from unfair settlements (such as those that pay more to people from certain states, or provide only coupons) through a “Plaintiff’s Bill of Rights.”

“The Breaux Alternative”—Encourages more lawsuit abuse in state courts

•Allows lawyers to “forum shop” national cases to the local courts of more populated states.

•Disadvantages out of state defendants by allowing actions between citizens of one state, and defendants from other states to remain in the plaintiff’s state court.

•Requires state court review of a federal court’s denial of class certification, and empowers them to overrule that decision.

•Further clogs the state judiciary, and reduces available compensation for plaintiff class members by failing to consolidate duplicate class actions under one judge.

•Changes existing law by establishing a 30-day deadline on when class actions can be removed to federal court. This allows attorneys to evade federal jurisdiction by amending a single state Class Action on the 31st day, creating a national lawsuit that can still be heard in a single state court.


San Francisco: (415) 393-0707
Fresno: (559) 485-7430
Los Angeles: (310) 914-7318
San Diego: (619) 231-1108
Washington, D.C.: (202) 228-3954
E-Mail: senator@feinstein.senate.gov

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