CMTA Supports the Class ActionFairness Act, U.S. Senate Bill 274

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Feb. 21, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

At a time when American businesses can least afford it, the cost of U.S. civil justice system is growing at four times the rate of the nation's economy--a major result of skyrocketing increases in frivolous class action lawsuits.

Frivolous lawsuits cost businesses billions of dollars annually, unnecessarily inflate liability insurance rates, affect the value of retirement plans, and ultimately increase prices for consumers. They have also caused gridlock in our smallest state courts, empowered local communities to rule against the laws of other states, and robbed legitimately harmed consumers of adequate compensation.

The crust of the problem is a loophole in federal law that allows class actions that are national in scope to be filed in local courts. Often times, certain courts are hand picked by plaintiff's attorneys because of their reputation for handing out large awards, especially in meritless cases that would not pass muster in Federal Court. This practice is known as "forum shopping."

Anyone who has participated in a Class Action settlement also knows that these cases often provide no real relief to injured plaintiffs, while attorneys, and certain plaintiffs who are recruited to keep the lawsuit in a specific court's jurisdiction, reap huge awards.

Recently, CMTA joined the California Coalition for Class Action Reform. This group is advocating for Senator Feinstein's support of The Class Action Fairness Act of 2003 (S. 274) -- a moderate reform bill that would move the largest, multi-state Class Actions to Federal Court, and establish a series of protections against unfair settlements (such as those that pay bounties to class members who are recruited for the lawsuit, or those that provide only token awards, like coupons) for plaintiff class members.

Class Action reform is entirely procedural, does not impede a person's right to bring a class action suit, and contains no caps on damages or attorneys' fees. Class Action Reform will provide increased legal efficiency, and fairness for citizens who need real remedies

We urge you to contact Senator Feinstein and ask her to support the Class Action Fairness Act in 2003. Please contact Matt Sutton if you would like to receive talking points on the proposed legislation.

For more information on Class Action Reform, please visit www.litigationfairness.org .





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