By Joanne Doroshow, Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School
The U.S House of Representatives plans to vote this week on a bill that would wipe out class actions and block asbestos victims from accessing the courts (while violating their privacy). The legislation, H.R. 1927, would give sweeping new liability protections to industries that make and market unsafe products, commit fraud and otherwise break rules and harm the public. As a nation, we should all be very concerned.
The bill is called the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2015. It combines two bills reported out of the House Judiciary Committee this year, which have nothing in common except for their overall purpose — to block plaintiffs’ access to the courts.
Let’s begin with class actions and a little background about they are so important. When a company practices a pattern of discrimination or receives a large windfall through small injuries to large numbers of people, a class action is usually the only way victims can seek compensation and justice, and companies can be held legally accountable for the harm they cause. Research shows that class actions have brought tremendous relief for class members and regularly stop illegal corporate behavior.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.