Proposed Federal Legislation Would Rewrite Class Action Law

On February 9, 2017, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced H.R.985 in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The Bill is titled “To amend the procedures used in Federal court class actions and multidistrict litigation proceedings to assure fairer, more efficient outcomes for claimants and defendants, and for other purposes.”  Its text can be found here:  https://goo.gl/I3iiS3.  If passed in its current form, the new statute would be called the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017.”  Rep. Goodlatte is the same legislator who introduced the Class Action Fairness Act in the House in 2005.

H.R.985 proposes sweeping changes to class action law and procedure.  It also proposes changes to multidistrict litigation and to personal injury and wrongful death actions which have been removed to federal court based on  diversity of citizenship.  The Bill was referred on February 9, 2017 to the House Judiciary Committee, of which Rep. Goodlatte is chairman.  There were no co-sponsors.  There are 41 members of the House Judiciary Committee, 24 of whom are Republican.  We’ll follow this closely.

Author: Jeremy Gilman

Jeremy Gilman, a Partner in Benesch's Litigation Practice Group, is Co-Chair of the firm's Class Action Litigation Practice Group and past Co-Chair of the Class Action Subcommittee of the ABA's Litigation Section's Commercial & Business Litigation Committee. His biography appears at http://www.beneschlaw.com/jgilman/.