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News
June 26, 2001

Chamber Urges Congress to Pass Class Action Reform

Washington, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce today applauded the introduction of legislation that would reform the nation’s class action system to prevent abusive and frivolous lawsuits from overloading the legal system and to ensure that all parties are treated fairly.

“The deluge of frivolous class action filings is making it nearly impossible for people with legitimate claims to get their day in court,” said James Wootton, president of the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber. “The system just doesn’t work for anyone plaintiffs or defendants.”

Class action lawsuit abuse has reached the point that nearly half of all companies say they have pulled or delayed introducing a new product, according to the Institute for Legal Reform. Many firms will attempt to reach settlements in frivolous lawsuits because they fear the process will cheat them even when they’ve done nothing wrong.

“This ‘litigation tax’ raises the price of consumer goods, stifles innovation, hurts our economy, and ties up the courts so that legitimate victims cannot receive compensation,” said Wootton. “Lawmakers can restore balance and fairness to America’s civil justice system by creating momentum for a solution that will make the system simpler, fairer and faster.”

A bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives introduced the Class Action Fairness Act, which will streamline the judicial process for plaintiffs who truly have been injured and curb many of the practices that are used to rig the system against defendant companies and class members. The bill’s sponsors include Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rick Boucher (D-VA).

The mission of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform is to reduce excessive and frivolous lawsuits while restoring fairness and balance to America’s legal system.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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