Senate Strikes Deal on Class-Action Reform

December 1, 2003

Senate lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal to restore fairness for both defendants and consumers to the class action system and limit abusive lawsuits, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.

Key reforms that protect consumers in the bipartisan deal — reached before the politicians departed for Thanksgiving — include prohibiting settlements in which class members actually lose money after paying attorneys’ fees and protecting class members from getting coupons of little or no value while attorneys make millions of dollars.

The House of Representatives easily passed its version of the legislation earlier this year by a vote of 253 to 170. A central provision of the Class Action Fairness Act would permit large, multi-state class action lawsuits to move from state to federal court, aimed at preventing widespread “venue shopping” by trial lawyers.

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