WASHINGTON (June 16)—The House of Representatives has approved a business-backed class action reform bill by a 253-170 vote. Among other things, the Class Action Fairness Act mandates the removal of any class action to a federal court if it exceeds $5 million in total claims and requires judicial scrutiny of non-cash benefits to class members to ensure the lion's share of benefits don't go to plaintiffs' attorneys. Tire manufacturers and dealers are among the staunchest advocates of the legislation, which also passed the Senate Judiciary Committee June 2 in somewhat different form. "This is a long overdue action," said a spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association. "We're a lot closer to a very positive resolution to this problem than ever before." Attorney and consumer groups, however, decry the legislation as sharply limiting the rights of plaintiffs.