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The New England Council Lauds Congress for Passing Class Action Reform Legislation.

BOSTON -- The New England Council President James T. Brett lauded Congress today for passing class action reform legislation.

Last week the Senate passed the Class Action Fairness Act which will reform laws governing class action lawsuits in a variety of ways, including moving many multi-state class action lawsuits from state courts to federal court. The House today followed suit and passed the bill without amendment. It is expected to be signed into law by the President tomorrow.

"This bill will help our legal system work more efficiently and is fairer for both plaintiffs and defendants," Brett commented. "It is a truly bipartisan bill that was carefully crafted with input from both sides of the aisle."

The Class Action Fairness Act contains numerous consumer protection provisions, including one that would prohibit settlements where the awards are so low that plaintiffs, after paying for legal fees, actually lose money. The Act also includes provisions that guard against coupon settlements that provide little or no value to consumers.

"Many of these inequities in the system have led to frivolous lawsuits which are causing backlogs in the courts," Brett said.

The result of these inefficiencies can not only burden businesses with unnecessary costs, but ultimately raises costs for consumers.

Class action lawsuits were established as a means of resolving lawsuits involving large numbers of individuals with similar claims. State standards governing these cases have become varied among the states over the years. The lack of uniformity has led to frivolous lawsuits. It has also led to some state court jurisdictions attracting cases because defendants and lawyers are "shopping" for a favorable outcome.

The New England Council has been a leading advocate for class action reform legislation. Council President and CEO James Brett has been invited to attend the bill signing ceremony at the White House after the Council worked closely with a broad coalition of business groups and other supporters from around the country to pass this important legislation.

The New England Council is the nation's oldest regional business organization, dedicated to promoting economic development and a high quality of life in the six-state region.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 17, 2005
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