A new bill focusing on class actions was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on February 15th on a 19 to 12 vote. Known as the 2017 Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act (H.R. 985), the legislation was introduced February 9 by committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
The bill adds new provisions to a wide range of class action and complex litigation practice. As reported by Bloomberg BNA, “They include tightening up class certification requirements, capping or delaying distribution of fees to class counsel, requiring the disclosure of litigation financing, and tying the reporting of settlement data to plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fees. It also includes new mandates on plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation proceedings in federal court.”
Lieff Cabraser consumer protection attorney Jonathan D. Selbin spoke with Bloomberg about H.R. 985. “The bill is a mis-named and misguided attempt to slam the court-room doors shut on consumers, small businesses, employees and investors seeking to hold large corporations accountable when their conduct hurts lots of people… [It is] another shot across the blow of an independent judiciary.”
According to Bloomberg BNA, “The measure is expected to pass the House easily, largely along party lines, but its fate is uncertain in the Senate.” If this legislation is passed, it would affect pending as well as future litigation on both the plaintiffs and defense sides.