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February 01, 2016

Class Actions

One of the House’s first votes this session was passage of H.R. 1927, a class action bill opposed by the ABA. The legislation would circumvent the Rules Enabling Act to amend Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to mandate that no federal court shall certify any proposed class seeking monetary relief for personal injury or economic loss unless the party affirmatively demonstrates that each proposed class member suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative or representatives. In a Jan. 6 letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman pointed out that data from the Federal Judicial Center show that current screening practices for determining when a class action case can proceed are working well. “In addition to circumventing the traditional judicial rulemaking process, the legislation would severely limit the ability of victims who have suffered a legitimate harm to seek justice collectively in a class action lawsuit,” Susman wrote. He also noted that the Judicial Conference of the United States is currently reviewing Rule 23 and that the Supreme Court is poised to issue rulings in cases focusing on questions concerning class certification.

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