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.

01/01/2019

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  1. Chamber Urges Senate Panel to Pass Class Action Reform Bill

    July 30, 2002 | Press Release

    Washington, D.C., July 31, 2002 -- The United States Chamber of Commerce today urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass the Class Action Fairness Act (S. 1712), a bipartisan bill that would reform the out-of-control state class action lawsuit system.... Read More

  2. Chamber Praises House For Class Action Reform; Focus is Now on the Senate

    March 12, 2002 | Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Chamber of Commerce praised the U.S. House of Representatives today for passing the Class Action Fairness Act, by a vote of 233 to 190, and urged the Senate to follow suit. "For too long, America's legal system has made trial lawyers richer at the expense of innocent consumers, shareholders and businesses," said James M. Wootton, president of the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber. "Today lawmakers have sent a strong signal that the days of class action abuse are numbered."... Read More

  3. Chamber Urges Class Action Reform

    February 05, 2002 | Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 6, 2002 -- The United Sates Chamber of Commerce today urged the House Judiciary Committee to pass the Class Action Fairness Act (H.R. 2341) to end abuses of our legal system."Abusive and frivolous lawsuits are stunting economic growth and job creation," said James M. Wootton, president of the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber. "The Class Action Fairness Act will restore balance and fairness to our civil justice system while enhancing and protecting the rights of consumers and businesses alike."... Read More

  4. Chamber Applauds Senate Introduction Of Bill Curtailing Class Action Abuses

    November 15, 2001 | Press Release

    Washington, D.C., Nov. 16, 2001 - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today applauded introduction of a Senate bill - S. 1712, "The Class Action Fairness Act of 2001" - that would allow complex national class actions to be tried in federal instead of state courts, where the rules are the same for all Americans.... Read More

  5. Chamber Urges Congress to Pass Class Action Reform

    June 26, 2001 | Press Release

    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.... Read More

  6. Chamber Urges Review of Illinois Class Action Suit

    January 24, 2000 | Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 24, 2000 - The United States Chamber of Commerce warned that overly lenient state courts are becoming magnets for class action litigation, in an amicus brief filed today in the Supreme Court of Illinois on behalf of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. State Farm was hit with a billion-dollar judgment after a state trial court certified a class action suit involving nearly five million plaintiffs in 48 states.<... Read More

  7. Chamber of Commerce Endorses House Action on Class Action Reform

    September 23, 1999 | Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 23, 1999 - The Interstate Class Action Jurisdiction Act (H.R. 1875) passed the House of Representatives 222 to 207 to the applause of small and large businesses across the country, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce.... Read More

  8. Class Action Reform Vital to Business Says United States Chamber of Commerce

    September 22, 1999 | Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 23, 1999 - The Interstate Class Action Jurisdiction Act currently before Congress is essential to address the frivolous lawsuits currently undermining both small and large businesses, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce. "This bill will stop abusive cases that trample the rights of defendants and do little more than line the pockets of unscrupulous trial lawyers," said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Bruce Josten. "HR 1875 is bi-partisan lawmaking at its best."... Read More