The federal government and the states each play an important role in addressing the problem of lawsuit abuse. Many important legal reforms have been enacted and implemented at the federal level, ensuring reliable national standards that give businesses the predictability they need in order to operate.
Congress is currently considering a number of important legal reform proposals that would help restore balance to America's civil justice system. These include national preemptive data privacy legislation, asbestos litigation reform, and disclosure of third-party funding arrangements, among others.
In addition, some Departments of the Executive Branch have promulgated internal reforms that are designed to ensure fairness and due process in enforcement actions. For example, both the Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice have announced that their civil enforcement actions must be based on clear statutory or regulatory authority. The Justice Department also has adopted policies to encourage corporate compliance programs and cooperation in investigations; these policies will increase corporate adherence to regulatory requirements and preserve finite government resources. For more detail see the Over-Enforcement page.
Finally, there is a need to defend against efforts by the plaintiffs’ bar to expand liability in Congress, federal courts, and regulatory agencies. For example, the trial bar is working to increase class action litigation, eliminate the availability of pre-dispute arbitration agreements and increase liability against product manufacturers.
Private rights of action (PRAs) are highly problematic: the plaintiffs' bar benefits significantly from America's lawsuit system, while consumers are left with little. PRAs are especially poor tools for addressing privacy issues, which are better left to regulators with relevant expertise and perspective to shape and balance penalties, deterrence, innovation, and consumer protection. Read More
Multidistrict litigation proceedings (MDLs) were created as an efficient way to handle pretrial proceedings in hundreds or thousands of similar cases against the same defendant. Unfortunately, MDLs also give plaintiffs an unfair advantage when it comes to appeals. If a defendant makes a dispositive motion-on preemption or expert evidence, for example-and is denied, it won't normally have access to immediate appeal. But if the defendant wins the motion, plaintiffs can appeal right away. This paper argues for courts to give MDL plaintiffs and defendants equal access to appellate review. Read More
After the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned several plaintiffs' law firms and lead generators, an FTC official told Law.com that the agency will continue to "monitor" the issue for new developments.... Read More
The High Court of Australia ruled yesterday that courts have no power to order class members to pay a portion of their recoveries to litigation funders, which Law.com says could be "a major blow" to the industry.... Read More
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The 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States was conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform by The Harris Poll to explore how fair and reasonable state liability systems are perceived to be by U.S. businesses.