Consumer Group Letter to Congress Supporting Class Actions

Thursday, February 26, 2015

(PDF Version)

Hon. Trent Franks, Chairman
Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Hon. Steve Cohen, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Franks and Ranking Member Cohen:

The undersigned organizations believe that class actions are critically important to compensate victims of illegal behavior and to deter corporate law-breaking.  We strongly object to the placement of any further limits on the ability to bring class actions or to recover damages.

When a company practices a pattern of discrimination or receives a large windfall through small injuries to large numbers of people, a class action lawsuit is the only realistic way harmed individuals can afford to challenge this wrongdoing in court.  As Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for four dissenting Justices in AT&T v. Concepcion, said, “The realistic alternative to a class action is not 17 million individual suits, but zero individual suits, as only a lunatic or a fanatic sues for $30.”  Without the class action tool, corporations and businesses can ignore the law far more easily and operate with impunity. Class actions are also important for regulatory agencies, which often rely on information uncovered in class action lawsuits to pursue public enforcement actions against corporate law-breakers.

Class actions have led to changes in corporate behavior that protect us all from many types of illegal conduct, from employment and civil rights violations to price-fixing and consumer fraud to automotive defects to health care abuses.  Class actions have led to important recoveries for victims of predatory and discriminatory lending, like illegal auto finance and mortgage loan mark-ups, payday loans, and unlawful practices targeting Servicemembers.  Class actions have remedied race and gender employment discrimination.  Class actions have led to substantial recoveries for small businesses who have been victims of illegal price-fixing cartels. 

We urge Congress stop companies from prohibiting class actions in the fine print of contracts, and to otherwise protect class actions, as they are among the most powerful mechanisms used to secure justice in America.   


Alliance for Justice

Center for Justice & Democracy

Citizen Works

Committee to Support the Antitrust Laws

Connecticut Center for Patient Safety

Consumer Action

Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Watchdog

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety  (CARS)

Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings

Home Owners for Better Building

National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA)

National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients)

National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

National Consumers League

National Employment Lawyers Association

Public Citizen


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