(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Thursday, February 10, 2005

class action bill
Remember how the class action bill was being sold as a way of allowing corporations to get out of "judicial hellholes" -- getting cases out of certain putatively horrible state courts and into the lovely lovely federal courts where cases can be heard fairly? That's inoperative now. The purpose is now overtly to make sure that corporations win class actions. That's why, in beating down an amendment designed to make sure that federal courts don't just dismiss class actions willy-nilly because they're too hard to handle, but instead hear them on their merits, Sen. Grassley (the bill's main sponsor) said that would "defeat the purpose" of the bill. Right.

You can hear me rant about this and other aspects of the bill this afternoon on the Legal Broadcast Network, internet radio for plaintiffs' lawyers and other lovers of justice, from 430 to 530.

posted by sam 7:15 AM 3 comments


Well, the Senate passed it. Bah. And by a margin that makes me want to see the list of Democrats who went along with it. Bah.

By Blogger nolo, at 4:19 PM  

If the problem is that state courts are certifying class actions that shouldn't be certified, then removing the class actions to federal court, and requiring the federal court to certify the class action doesn't solve the problem. It was a ridiculous amendment, and probably unconstitutional, to boot.

By Anonymous Ted, at 11:34 AM  

Ted, that kind of pseudo-clever argument won't fly here. The supposed problem with some state courts, that was the putative justification for the jurisdictional aspect of the act, was (a) that some of them were allowing cases to proceed that should have been dismissed on 12(b)(6) and (b) that some of them were certifying nationwide classes in state law cases despite the perception on the part of class-action critics that differences in state law made such certifications unmanageable and therefore inappropriate. The amendment would not have required any federal court to certify any case. It would not have required any federal court to allow any case to proceed if it should have been dismissed on 12(b)(6). And it would have solved the problem of supposed unmanageability by a choice-of-law standard. This is "ridiculous" if and only if your one true goal is simply to make sure that companies win class actions. The point of this post was that that was the goal of the proponents of the class action bill. It's clear that this is your goal, too. But at least say it out loud, rather than pretending to some intellectual basis for what is simply a fighting stance on behalf of your preferred interest group, i.e., corporate bigwigs.

By Blogger sam, at 11:47 AM  

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