Big ‘I’ Pushes Class Action Legislation

February 3, 2005

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) said it is pleased the House of Representatives is moving forward on legislation to reform the nation’s class-action litigation system.

“The introduction of a bill today (Feb. 2) in the House is a good sign, and we will be working to ensure that true class action reform is enacted,” said Charles Symington Jr., Big “I” senior vice president of federal government affairs.

The Big “I” strongly supports reforms to the nation’s class action system, particularly changes that would put an end to so-called ‘venue shopping,’ in which plaintiffs’ lawyers steer cases to particular state courts which are trial lawyer friendly. Such abuses of the system reportedly encourage frivolous lawsuits and create hardships for small businesses, including independent insurance agents and brokers.

A Senate markup of a similar bill, the Class Action Fairness Act, is scheduled for Thursday. The Big “I” is hopeful that both houses of Congress can quickly pass legislation, iron out any differences between the two versions, and get a bill before President Bush for his signature as soon as possible. The President has been very vocal in recent weeks on the need for class-action reform and overarching legal reform in general, including asbestos and medical-malpractice reform.

“Our 300,000 members across America strongly support legal reforms across the board, and we applaud Congress and President Bush for making these necessary changes a priority,” added Symington. “We will work together with elected officials of either party who understand the need to get our legal system under control in a way that benefits both small businesspeople and consumers.”

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