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Crying wolf over CAFA

Just a few months ago, it will be called, extravagant claims were being bandied about that the then-pending Class Action Fairness Act would gut consumers' rights, wipe out the class action as a remedy for business misconduct, and so forth. Now that the bill has become law, however, we learn (per Alison Frankel in The American Lawyer) that "plaintiffs lawyers are less worried about the impact of the reform on their practices than might be expected." Meritorious cases, it seems -- and all lawyers will publicly count their own cases in that category -- will do well in federal court after all. "The ultimate result will be the same," claims Illinois's Stephen Tillery, well known for his successes in state-court class actions. High-powered national firms like Lieff Cabraser and Susman Godfrey already spend much or most of their time in federal court. And plaintiff's lawyers are exploring ways to turn the new rules to tactical advantage, as by leveling demands for defendants' customer lists on the grounds that they are necessary in determining whether a case is properly removeable to federal court. "If there's one absolute in litigation, it's never to underestimate the resourcefulness of the plaintiffs bar." Is it too late to issue a consumer recall on last year's doomsaying anti-CAFA rhetoric?



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.