Recently the United States House of Representatives voted to hamper citizen’s ability to bring about class action lawsuits against corporations. H.R. 985 is known as the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017. H.R. 985 prohibits a federal court from certifying any proposed class seeking monetary relief for personal injury or economic loss unless the party seeking the class action shows that each proposed class member suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative or representatives. The bill requires a court, in issuing a class certification order for any class subject to the bill’s requirements, to also certify that those requirements have been met based on a rigorous analysis of the evidence presented.
H.R. 985 adds years of delay, expense, and disruption to class action lawsuits which makes it harder for citizens to bring about lawsuits against big corporations. The bill allows for automatic appeal in the middle of every case of the class certification order. These appeals are disruptive to the case and add years to the life of the case.
H.R. 985 imposes a nearly impossible hurdle that “each class member has suffered the same type and scope of injury.” This only limits the ability of most Americans to join a class action suit against larger corporate interests. For example, if a user takes a medication that is the subject of a class action lawsuit, and other users died while taking the drug, under H.R. 985 the user would not be able to join the lawsuit because he or she did not experience the same “type and scope”. As it stands now a user would be able to join a class action lawsuit because like everyone else, they had incomplete information while using the product and could have been harmed. H.R. 985 also bars class certification for everyone in the class, dissolving the possibility of a suit.
If you think that the law should work for every American and not just for corporate interests, contact your Member of Congress and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 985.