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November 15, 2001

Chamber Applauds Senate Introduction Of Bill Curtailing Class Action Abuses

Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, 2001 – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today applauded introduction of a Senate bill – S. 1712, “The Class Action Fairness Act of 2001” – that would allow complex national class actions to be tried in federal instead of state courts, where the rules are the same for all Americans.

“The current class action system leaves the door open for widespread and uncontrolled abuse, with juries in small county courts making decisions of great national consequence that can negatively impact plaintiffs and businesses all across the country,” said James Wootton, President of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform. “By moving these complex, interstate class action cases to Federal courts, S. 1712 will go a long way toward achieving the level legal playing field our founding fathers intended.”

Sponsored by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), and Arlen Specter (R-PA), S. 1712 includes provisions that protect class members from abusive practices.

“When class members receive only coupons as compensation, while their lawyers get multi-million dollar fee awards, it’s abundantly clear the system isn’t working,” said Wootton. “In cases where plaintiffs truly have been injured, this bill will streamline the judicial process and curb many of the practices that make the system unfair for plaintiffs and defendants alike.”

S. 1712 is the companion bill to H.R. 2341 introduced earlier this year in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Rick Boucher (D-VA), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Jim Moran (D-VA). The House version currently has 33 co-sponsors.

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