Bill in Congress targets class actions

March 22, 2017 By Dave Stafford
The Indiana Lawyer

The battle lines drawn in a fight over federal class-action lawsuits include skirmishes from class-certification standards to how much attorneys can collect in legal fees.

The Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act, House Resolution 985, passed the U.S. House on a 220-201 vote March 9. Bose McKinney & Evans LLP partner Brian Jones handles complex civil litigation, including class actions, and said the bill should be called the Class Action Elimination Act. “This bill creates procedural and, I think, some evidentiary burdens that are so high as to make class actions practically impossible,” he said.

“I would say this is a blowback to a perception of judicial activism which is, at best, probably characterized as an alternative fact,” Jones said.

But lawyers who defend against class actions say the bill responds to abuses they encounter in suits that at the outset can be nebulous and sometimes cost businesses a bundle to respond to, let alone defend.

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