WASHINGTON, D.C., June 12, 2003 – The United States Chamber of Commerce praised the U.S. House of Representatives today for passing class action reform – for the third time – and urged the Senate to follow suit. The Chamber has lobbied hard on behalf of the Class Action Fairness Act, which restores fairness for defendants and ends abuses of the current class action system.
“Lawmakers have sent a strong bipartisan signal that the days of class action abuse are numbered,” said Stanton D. Anderson, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief legal officer. “The Senate should seize this opportunity for common sense legal reform by quickly passing the Class Action Fairness Act.”
A central provision of the House bill, which was approved by a vote of 253 to 170, will make it easier to move large, multi-state class action lawsuits from state to federal court, preventing widespread “venue shopping” by trial lawyers.
Key reforms that protect consumers include: requiring class action settlement notices to be written in plain English; prohibiting settlements in which class members actually lose money after paying attorneys’ fees; and protecting class members from getting coupons of little or no value while attorneys make millions of dollars.
A recent poll conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform found that 67 percent of those questioned thought the class action lawsuit system needed to be reformed.
“The current system benefits mostly class action lawyers – this bill changes all that,” said Anderson. “Businesses and consumers who are victimized by the current system hope the third time’s the charm for meaningful reform. We will work vigorously until this bill is passed by the Congress and signed by the President.”