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« More on Senate passage of class action reform | Class Action Fairness Act: reflection »

February 10, 2005

Class Action Fairness Act: perspective

The Senate's resounding, bipartisan passage today of the Class Action Fairness Act represents a significant loss for Trial Lawyers, Inc. and its litigation lobby. ATLA president Todd Smith whined, "Every American's legal rights are diminished by this anti-consumer legislation."

But the class action reforms at the heart of the Class Action Fairness Act are among the most defensible federal reform proposals being considered, which is why 18 Democrats signed on to the measure. The Act is in many respects the policy culmination of substantial intellectual efforts here at the Manhattan Institute, this website's sponsor. We have previously published four different Civil Justice Reports on the magnet court phenomenon that the Act is designed to address:

John H. Beisner and Jessica Davidson Miller, They're Making a Federal Case Out of It . . . In State Court, Civil Justice Report 3 (2001)(showing very high incidence of nationwide class action filings in three county "magnet courts");

John H. Beisner & Jessica Davidson Miller, Class Action Magnet Courts: The Allure Intensifies, Civil Justice Report 5 (2002)(showing continuing growth of Madison County, Illinois magnet court, with filings growing 2,000% in three years);

Lester Brickman, Anatomy of a Madison County (Illinois) Class Actions: A Study of Pathology, Civil Justice Report 6 (2002)(case study examining a Madison County class action, showing how court abused plaintiffs' rights to benefit class counsel);

John H. Beisner et al., One Small Step for a County Court . . . One Giant Calamity for the National Legal System, Civil Justice Report 7 (2003)(showing growing "mass action" tort problem in non-class-action jurisdiction of Jefferson County, Mississippi).

For an overview discussion of the class action problem, see here. See also here for the discussion in Trial Lawyers, Inc.

See also our earlier Point of Law postings Feb. 3 (on committee debates), Jan. 24 (for panel discussion at AEI), Jan. 3 (for Bush visit to Madison County), Aug. 2 (for FTC conference on class actions), Jul. 9 (on Senate's inability to pass the Act last summer), Jul. 8 (discussing interlocutory appeal function of Act), Jul. 7 (for editorials and other bloggers' comments), Jul. 6 (several news links), and Jun. 2 (for discussion of Senate wrangling and the Act's merits).

Posted by James R. Copland at 06:36 PM | TrackBack (1)

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