Urge Senators to Vote Against the Unfair Class Action Bill
Please contact your senators and ask that they oppose the pending Class Action "Fairness" Act, S. 2062. Upon the senators' return from the July 4 recess, Senate Majority Leader Frist has committed to taking up legislation that would restrict class action litigation.
Make no mistake about itthere's nothing "fair" about this bill. The so-called Class Action Fairness Act is designed to stop women, people of color, consumers and patients from advancing their rights and seeking redress through the courts.
Class action litigation is one of the most important tools that disadvantaged citizens can use to help level the playing field. Often class action lawsuits are the only means by which groups can pursue legal redress from systemic discrimination. Please send a message as soon as possible (feel free to modify it by using your own words).
Civil rights laws are intended to protect victims of discriminatory policies, to ensure that they can obtain relief from unlawful practices. The so-called Class Action Fairness Act of 2004 (S. 2062, sponsored by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa) threatens to unfairly prevent victims of discrimination from seeking legal justice.
This legislation seeks to move most state court class actions into federal courts, a process that will overload the federal courts, delaying the resolution of cases and making it more difficult for federal civil rights cases to be heard. Similar anti-class action litigation legislation has already passed the House.
The bill will also prohibit courts from granting settlements that award a named plaintiff a greater share of relief than is awarded to all other members of the class. In effect, the named plaintiffs will be forced to give up full relief and compensation as the price for attempting to protect others in the class. The removal of state class actions to the federal courts, the backlog that will result, and the prohibition of granting full compensation to named plaintiffs will all serve to deter victims of discriminatory acts from filing class action suits. These changes will most seriously affect the marginalized and disadvantaged members of society, including women, as it seeks to deny them access to relief from discrimination and injury.
The legislation also attempts to decrease the role of local juries and judges in deciding whether or not a business should be held accountable for its discriminatory actions and policies. The areas in which proponents of the bill have expressed concern over the ability of juries to make responsible and reliable decisions are areas in which most of the citizens are Hispanic or African American. This further points to the attempts of the bill's supporters to diminish the resources available to the disadvantaged members of our society.
We must take action immediately! Speaking to reporters after the Senate broke for recess, Republican Senate Majority Leader Frist commented that he is confident the class action bill will pass. "This will be successful," Frist predicted, despite expected efforts by GOP and Democratic lawmakers to load the bill down with amendmentsincluding minimum wage provisions. Frist warned, however, he has not ruled out using a cloture motion on the class action bill to limit amendments. "I have made it clear that with 38 legislative days left in this session ... that we shouldn't be debating non-related amendments," Frist said.
Time is running short, so please take action now and use the message below to urge your senator to oppose the unfair Class Action Fairness Act!
For more information:
Again, please use this link to send a message to your senators
and ask that they oppose the pending Class Action "Fairness" Act.