Senate Prospects for Class Action Bill Still Murky
Bloomberg BNA discusses the future of the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017 with CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness founder Ted Frank.
The Republican-led House approved the far-reaching Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017 ( H.R. 985) in March without holding any prior hearings. The legislation is generally expected to face greater scrutiny and longer odds in the Senate. But when that work will begin, and what the final legislation will have to look like for supporters to get it onto the Senate floor, is still ripe for speculation.
Frequent class settlement objector Ted Frank said recently it’s unlikely the bill could get the necessary 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and pass the Senate in its current form. Frank is the director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Class Action Fairness in Washington.
The bill, if it becomes law, would change the dynamic of class action practice, which currently allows plaintiffs to pressure companies into settling to avoid the costs of protracted litigation, Beisner said.
But Bland said the bill’s provisions would “wipe away nearly all class actions.”
Frank called that an exaggeration.
“This will be the seventh time in the last 10 years” the plaintiffs’ bar has said class actions would be killed, Frank said. But he also argued the bill as written is poorly drafted to address the concerns of the defense bar.
“It’s sufficiently ambiguous,” he said. If the bill is enacted in its current form, “Attorneys will be litigating for years until we figure out what the language really means.”
Read the full article at Bloomberg BNA.