WASHINGTON (Feb. 17)—A chorus of business and industry groups, including the Tire Industry Association and the Rubber Manufacturers Association, cheered the House passage Feb. 17 of the Class Action Fairness Act.
The bill—which passed the Senate the week of Feb. 7—requires class action lawsuits to be tried in federal courts if they involve more than $5 million in damages and plaintiffs from more than one state. It also contains a "Consumer Class Action Bill of Rights" to ensure that plaintiffs—and not their attorneys—benefit most from a class action settlement or judgment. President Bush, who supports the bill, is expected to sign it Feb. 18.
Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president, said his association has fought for passage of the Class Action Fairness Act for more than three years. "It is a bill that will make our country's legal system better for both businesses and victims," he said in a news release.
The bill's passage will help prevent the filing of class action lawsuits in state courts friendly to frivolous claims, RMA President Donald B. Shea said in an association release. "Many of these lawsuits provided little relief to consumers, but provided a windfall of legal fees to trial lawyers who filed the suits," Shea said.