AAI Lauds House Chairman’s Action on Class Action Fairness

May 16, 2003

The Alliance of American Insurers (AAI) is applauding House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) for holding a committee hearing Thursday that will reportedly help raise the profile of a critically-important civil justice issue: class action fairness and reform.

“Today’s hearing on the ‘Class Action Fairness Act of 2003’ (HR 1115) helps shed light on one of the most important civil justice issues facing our country,” Kenneth Schloman, Alliance Washington counsel, said. “We commend Chairman Sensenbrenner for his leadership in advancing this much-needed legislation.

“The bill contains a number of strong consumer protections, and it does away with some of the worst abuses in the current system. If this becomes law, forum shopping, nuisance suits, class certification and settlements not in the best interest of plaintiffs would all be a memory.

“The Alliance urges Congress to move forward with this common-sense legislation, and encourages its passage as quickly as possible.
“Companies and consumers will benefit from this bill; the class-action bar will not, and it’s about time. Jobs, pensions and 401(k) plans are more important to society than lawyers figuring out new ways to enrich themselves at everyone else’s expense.”

The bill would reportedly ease the transfer of national class-action suits from state courts to federal courts. Other provisions include a requirement that notices sent to class-action members be in plain English and a mandate that non-cash settlements be judicially scrutinized. It also would bar attorneys from causing class members to suffer a net loss.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a similar measure April 11. It awaits floor action in the full Senate.

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