Survey: California Susceptible to Class Action Lawsuits

April 25, 2007

California’s class action law ranks 46th in the nation in fairness and reasonableness, according to an annual national ranking of state civil justice systems. The rankings were released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform.

“Simply put, California has the fifth-worst class action law in the country,” said John H. Sullivan, president of the Civil Justice Association of California. “It’s time for the Legislature to install balance and clarity and make this part of the civil justice system work for all Californians. Until the Legislature does, consumers will continue to pay for these lawsuits through higher prices of everyday goods and services.”

According to CJAC, other states and Congress have passed reforms to improve their class action laws, yet California statutes have remained largely unchanged, giving neither judges nor lawyers clear guidelines for handing these cases. California is increasingly seen as a safe haven for opportunistic class action lawsuits, the group said.

Thus, CJAC is sponsoring bill AB 1505 to better protect the rights of discrimination victims and harmed consumers. The group says the bill, which is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on May 8, will make class action law more fair, predictable, and efficient, and would give judges clear statutory rules for handling class action cases and greatly reduce the legal uncertainty that makes these lawsuits expensive and time-consuming.

The the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform was based on a poll conducted by Harris Interactive Inc. “The 2007 State Liability Systems Ranking Study” was conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform among in house general counsel and other senior litigators to explore perceptions of state liability systems.

Source: CJAC

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