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Chamber Celebrates Senate Deal on Class Action

Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce celebrated news that Senate lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal to restore fairness for both defendants and consumers to the class action system and limit abusive lawsuits.

"Businesses and consumers victimized by the current system can give thanks tomorrow that the days of class action abuse are numbered," said Thomas Donohue, Chamber President and CEO. "We urge the Senate to pass the Class Action Fairness Act at the earliest opportunity."

Key reforms that protect consumers in the bipartisan deal - reached late last night - include prohibiting settlements in which class members actually lose money after paying attorneys' fees, and protecting class members from getting coupons of little or no value while attorneys make millions of dollars.

The Chamber has lobbied hard on behalf of the Class Action Fairness Act and praised Senators Bill Frist (R-TN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) for their efforts in reaching this agreement.

The House of Representatives easily passed its version of the legislation earlier this year by a vote of 253 to 170. A central provision of the Class Action Fairness Act will permit large, multi-state class action lawsuits to move from state to federal court, preventing widespread "venue shopping" by trial lawyers.

"The current system benefits mostly class action lawyers - the Class Action Fairness Act will change all that," said Donohue. "We will not rest until this bill is signed by the President."

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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