Release Date: Sep 10, 2001Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber Charges Class Action System Abused
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce said abusive and frivolous class action lawsuits – brought by a handful of attorneys – are overwhelming the judicial system in certain states.
"People with legitimate claims are getting coupons worth little more than spare change, while attorneys walk away with millions of dollars," said James Wootton, President of the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform. "And worse, many people have to wait a long time just to get their day in court, because frivolous suits are overloading our judicial system."
Certain state court systems have been flooded by the filing of national class action suits, according to a study released today by the Manhattan Institute. These suits – which frequently involve out-of-state clients and out-of-state law firms – are filed in county courts that are lawsuit friendly, according to the study.
"The class action system in the country has been hijacked by a small group of attorneys for personal gain," said Wootton.
The Chamber and the Institute for Legal Reform support legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Congress that would shift these types of suits to federal courts. The Class Action Fairness Act contains provisions that will streamline the judicial process for plaintiffs who truly have been injured and curb many of the practices that are used to rig the system against out-of-state defendant companies and class members.
"This type of gaming the system must be stopped," said Wootton. "Multi-state class action suits belong in federal court, where the rules are the same for everyone."
The mission of the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform is to reduce excessive and frivolous lawsuits while restoring fairness and balance to America's legal system.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.
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