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News
July 6, 2004

Chamber Urges Senate to Pass Class Action Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce called upon the members of the Senate to quickly consider and pass the Class Action Fairness Act (S. 2062), a bill aimed at curbing class action lawsuit abuse in state courts. Senate debate on the bill begins today.

“It is possible to forge consensus on a moderate and reasonable legal reform bill that protects consumers and is fair to business,” said Thomas J. Donohue, Chamber President and CEO. “This common-sense legislation, which has broad, bipartisan support, should be quickly passed by the Senate without amendment.”

The legislation would curb class action lawsuit abuse in state courts by allowing greater scrutiny of settlements that provide coupons or something else of little or no value to consumers, but return millions in legal fees to class action attorneys. In addition, the bill would stop the rampant practice of venue shopping of large national class actions by allowing federal courts to hear more national class action lawsuits involving plaintiffs and defendants from multiple states.

Last November, a bipartisan group of Senators negotiated a legislative compromise on class action lawsuit abuse. That compromise ensures genuine local class action lawsuits remain in state courts where they belong, and that legal fees in coupon settlements be determined as a percentage of the actual coupons redeemed or the number of hours the lawyers actually worked.

“Our country’s employers and workers have waited long enough for this legislation. This is a sensible bill that serves the best interests of the American people, not trial lawyers seeking jackpot justice,” continued Donohue. “Passage of this bill this year is the only responsible course of action for the Senate.”

The mission of the Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer and faster for everyone. 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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