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Proposed Federal Class Action Legislation Impacts Injury Lawsuits

Congress is currently considering legislation that would make it more difficult for injury victims to pursue class action lawsuits. The bill recently passed the House of Representatives and is being considered in the Senate.

In a class action lawsuit, one or more individuals pursue a legal claim on behalf of a larger group of people. Under current federal rules, a proposed class must share questions of law and fact in common, and the claims and defenses of the representative parties must be ‘‘typical’’ of those of the class.

The Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015 (H.R. 1927) would prohibit a Federal court from certifying any class action unless: (1) the party pursuing the class action demonstrates; (2) through admissible evidentiary proof; (3) that each proposed class member; (4) suffered an injury; (5) of the same type and scope as the injury of the named class representative. The proposed measure would also mandate that class certification orders issued by Federal courts “include a determination, based on a rigorous analysis of the evidence presented” that such a demonstration was made.

Critics of the bill maintain that it will raise litigation costs by effectively requiring plaintiffs to prove the merits of their case at the certification stage and then again during the trial on the merits of their case. They also argue that making it harder for consumers to band together to bring class action suits will lead to less corporate accountability when it comes to product safety.

As San Diego injury lawyers, we are concerned that the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act will let companies off the hook when they sell defective products that harm thousands of consumers. Plaintiffs should not be denied the ability to pursue a class action lawsuit just because one victim suffers a broken leg while another suffers a head injury.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Relying on more than 30 years of legal experience, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of California injury victims.