Class Actions

Class actions developed as a form of litigation in which a group of people claiming similar injuries or damages could band together to sue the same defendant. Nowadays, however, these cases are often pursued with the sole intention to shakedown a defendant—hurting businesses and damaging the American economy. Read More...

The sheer size of some classes is enormous—thousands to sometimes, millions of individual claimants come together in single class actions. The large size of a proposed class could result in huge damage awards, making these cases very risky for businesses despite strong defenses. Consequently, once a court decides that a case can proceed as a class action, most defendants end up settling the case instead of risking a trial—even if they have not done anything wrong.

Unfortunately, plaintiffs’ lawyers have exploited businesses’ caution by filing many meritless class actions—all with the goal of scoring a jackpot settlement where consumers receive minuscule amounts, and lawyers walk away with huge fees. For example, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and our securities laws have sparked enormous class action lawsuits that significantly damage legitimate American businesses all while benefiting plaintiff lawyers. Even more alarming are cy pres cases where some or all of the settlement proceeds go to a charity rather than the class members. The U.S. Department of Justice recently ramped up efforts to review abusive class action practices to curb further exploitation.

The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) helped curb many class action abuses by moving most large, interstate class actions to federal courts, where examination of class actions is generally more rigorous than in state courts. To help address the problems not resolved by CAFA, the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) believes The Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act (FICALA) would help to ensure that class actions are fulfilling their intended purpose. FICALA aims to bring fairness to the current state of class action litigation by closing various loopholes that increase meritless cases, limiting conflicts of interest between these plaintiffs’ attorneys and their class member clients, as well as bringing needed reforms to multidistrict litigation and fraudulent joinder standards.


Suggested Resources

  • Ill-Suited: Private Rights of Action and Privacy Claims

    Ill-Suited: Private Rights of Action and Privacy Claims

    July 11, 2019

    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

  • Unstable Foundation: <br>Our Broken Class Action System and How to Fix It

    Unstable Foundation:
    Our Broken Class Action System and How to Fix It

    October 24, 2017

    Unstable Foundation examines the pervasive flaws afflicting the United States' class action system. Class actions rarely provide meaningful compensation for class members, and are poorly suited to deterring wrongful conduct. Read More

All Results for Class Actions

  1. Lawsuit Ties "Booster Rockets" To Advertising Law, Company Says

    July 09, 2019 | News

    Eddie Bauer says a lawsuit filed over its email subject lines is an "attempt to strap booster-rockets onto a simple but defective" claim, Legal Newsline reports.... Read More

  2. In the News Today - June 18, 2019

    June 18, 2019 | News

    Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Illinois Biometric Lawsuit; Prop. 65 Lawyers Press On Despite New Coffee Ruling... Read More

  3. Ninth Circuit Reverses What Was Once A "Major Blow" to Multi-State Class Actions

    June 07, 2019 | News

    In a split 2-1 decision, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed a 2018 decision that caused alarm for lawyers on both sides of the bar. ... Read More

  4. In the News Today - June 3, 2019

    June 03, 2019 | News

    Judge Upholds Soap Settlement that Gives 27 Cents to Plaintiffs, $4 Million to lawyers... Read More

  5. Arbitration: Fairer, Faster, and Better for Employees

    May 30, 2019 | Blogs

    When it comes to solving disputes between employees and their employer, money doesn't matter, and time isn't precious. Or at least, that's what opponents of employment arbitration would like you to think.... Read More

  6. In the News Today - May 23, 2019

    May 23, 2019 | News

    Defense Counsel: Class Action Risk "Difficult to Overstate" In Proposed Mass. Privacy Law; "Tips For Using DOJ Guidance In A Compliance Program"... Read More

  7. Fairer, Faster, Better: An Empirical Assessment of Employment Arbitration

    May 15, 2019 | Research

    Contrary to the assertions made by the opponents of arbitration, employees in disputes with their employer are more likely to win cases, get more compensation, and get it more quickly in arbitration than in litigation. This study, performed by ndp | analytics, examined nearly 100,000 cases between 2014 and 2018, including over 90,000 federal lawsuits and 10,000 arbitrations.... Read More

  8. EPA Says Glyphosate Is Not A Carcinogen

    May 01, 2019 | News

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said yesterday that glyphosate, a key ingredient in weed killers, does not cause cancer in humans, Reuters reports.... Read More

  9. Seventh Circuit May Decide If BMS Ruling Applies To Class Actions

    April 26, 2019 | News

    A case before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals may decide whether the U.S. Supreme Court's Bristol-Myers Squibb decision on mass tort litigation also applies to class actions, Corporate Counsel reports.... Read More

  10. Class Action Defense Costs Projected to Rise For Fifth Straight Year

    April 17, 2019 | News

    A report published this week by the Carlton Fields law firm found that class action defense costs for companies are projected to increase for the fifth consecutive year.... Read More