Tag: Fairness in Class Action Litigation

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Proposed Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 Seeks to Curb Attorney Abuses of Class Action Device and Expand Class Action Defendant Protections
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Step by Step: Stricter Requirements for Class Certification Inch Closer to Legislative Enactment

Proposed Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 Seeks to Curb Attorney Abuses of Class Action Device and Expand Class Action Defendant Protections

By Brian M. Forbes, Joseph C. Wylie II, Molly K. McGinley, Jennifer Janeira Nagle, and Matthew N. Lowe

On February 9, 2017, Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 (the “Act” or “H.R. 985”). [1] The Act significantly expands the class action reforms proposed in an earlier version of the bill that stalled after passage in the U.S. House of Representatives [2] and imposes significant new restrictions on class action lawyers and plaintiffs seeking to proceed under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as well as implementing new rules applicable to cases consolidated through the multidistrict litigation process. The stated purposes of the Act are to: (1) “assure fair and prompt recoveries for class members and multidistrict litigation plaintiffs with legitimate claims;” (2) “diminish abuses in class action and mass tort litigation that are undermining the integrity of the U.S. legal system;” and (3) “restore the intent of the framers of the United States Constitution by ensuring Federal court consideration of interstate controversies of national importance consistent with diversity jurisdiction principles.” [3] In a press release, Rep. Goodlatte announced that the objective of the proposed legislation is to “keep baseless class action suits away from innocent parties, while still keeping the doors to justice open for parties with real and legitimate claims, and maximizing their recoveries.”

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Step by Step: Stricter Requirements for Class Certification Inch Closer to Legislative Enactment

By: Brian M. Forbes, Jennifer J. Nagle

Just over 10 years after the passage of the federal Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), Congress is again considering further legislative reform to class action litigation. Among other reforms, CAFA opened additional avenues for defendants to remove class action litigation to federal court (often viewed by the defense bar as a more favorable venue than state court) and placed additional limitations on class-wide settlements. Now, legislative attention is being paid to class actions that are certified absent a showing of common injury among all class members. On January 8, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2016 (“the Act” or “H.R. 1927”). If enacted into law, H.R. 1927 would represent a significant change to the standard that a class action plaintiff must satisfy for a court to certify his or her proposed class.

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