Class Action Litigation Act Of 2017

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Introduction: Class actions continue to be a hot bed for both litigation and legislation. Gaining traction in the Senate is the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 (the “Act”), which already passed in the House of Representative by a vote of 220 to 201. But how significant is the Act? And how does it differ from the current Rule 23 framework and the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) that was passed in 2005? Early commentators have come out on both sides, some praising the Act’s attempts to cut down on unmeritorious litigation driven only by plaintiffs’ attorneys and third-party funders, others viewing the Act’s new restrictions as a boon only to defendants. Regardless of how the Act is characterized, if enacted in its…show more content…
This often occurs in cases involving consumer products— there can be thousands of people who have not actually been injured but who are merely unhappy with a product, and they are allowed to be a part of the class. An empirical study found that no-injury class actions have resulted in approximately $4 billion worth of settlements and judgments over the last decade alone. The new requirement would especially impact securities fraud cases, where the range of investor losses can differ between a few hundred dollars (for individuals) and hundreds of millions of dollars (for institutional investors). Similarly, product liability claims would be more difficult to certify, especially those involving pharmaceuticals, because the symptoms, latent period, and extent of injuries often vary dramatically across class members. This new requirement is the change most likely to have the biggest impact on how class actions proceed, mainly because its language is vague and susceptible to differing interpretations. So, while on the one hand, the addition of a new requirement may decrease the number of cases that are allowed to proceed as class actions, on the other hand, there will likely be an increase in litigation dealing with how “type and scope” should be interpreted. Reliable and feasible method of distribution The Act would add an additional requirement to class certification by requiring that the
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