New Survey Reportedly Highlights Need for Class Action Reform

September 16, 2003

An overwhelming majority of Americans reportedly believe that frivolous lawsuits are flooding the court system and that class action lawsuits are increasing the cost of products they buy.

According to a Winston Group survey of 1,000 registered voters, 80 percent of Americans think there is too much litigation taking place, 74 percent believe lawsuits increase the cost of products, and 69 percent feel that lawyers have more impact on the outcome of lawsuits than does the law.

“Americans clearly recognize that the current rash of frivolous lawsuits is crippling our judicial system and lining the pockets of the trial bar at the expense of the national economy,” said Carl Parks, NAII senior vice president of government relations. “The public realizes that our system of jackpot justice creates a drag on economic growth, slows job creation and raises the costs of products that working Americans buy each day.”

The Class Action Fairness Act, legislation that reportedly brings fairness back to America’s class action system, is currently awaiting floor consideration in the United States Senate.

The bill marks the third time the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced and passed a class-action bill. This year, the margin of victory was the biggest ever and had strong bipartisan support with two times more Democrats supporting reform than ever before. The Class Action Fairness Act is a bipartisan bill reportedly with supporters on both sides of the aisle in the Senate as well.

“The U.S. tort system is the most expensive in the industrialized world, equating to a tax of more that $720 on every citizen in 2001,” continued Parks. “In 1950, that figure even adjusted for inflation, was only $87. There’s little control over civil litigation at the present time. NAII does not seek to restrict access to the courts, but to support reforms that provide balance by controlling the ‘lottery-like’ characteristics of the civil justice system and restoring predictability that is crucial to an effective insurance mechanism and a healthy economy. The American people and the economy have felt the
weight of onerous litigation for too long and it is time for the Senate to act.”

NAII has reportedly long advocated for comprehensive legal reform to lessen unnecessary strains on the U.S. judicial system and alleviate the added burden placed on the American economy by reckless lawsuits. Such reforms will reportedly protect consumers from the costs associated with excessive and burdensome litigation.

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