H.R. 985 (The Misnamed "Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017")
On 02.14.17, the Impact Fund submitted a letter on behalf of 121 civil rights non-profit organizations and advocates, joined by 87 ally law firms, to oppose H.R. 985 (“Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017”). The bill severely undermines the enforcement of U.S. civil rights law by making it practically impossible to bring a class action lawsuit.
The Impact Fund wrote to remind the Committee that class actions are a critical mechanism for enforcing civil rights law, including laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, education, and access to public areas and services. In the letter, we highlight some of the most egregious aspects of H.R. 985 that would restrict the public's access to justice.
We are not alone in our opposition to H.R. 985. Read the letters in opposition to the bill also submitted by:
- American Bar Association on behalf of its 400,000 members
- Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center on behalf of more than 30 Disability Rights Groups
- Center for Justice & Democracy on behalf of over 70 advocacy organizations
- Prof. Myriam Gilles of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University
- Prof. Elizabeth Burch of University of Georgia School of Law
- Judge David Campbell & Judge John Bates on behalf of the Committee on Rules of Practice & Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States
The bill was marked up for consideration on 02.15.17, with no opportunity given for public hearings. The committee voted on partisan lines 19-12 to recommend the bill and forward it to the full House of Representatives for a vote. The full committee proceedings on the bill can be seen here (time marker 8:58:26 to end).
It should come as no surprise that H.R. 985 has the enthusiastic support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We take a different view. We believe that ordinary men and women should not have their right to hold corporate America accountable taken away.
We will strenuously oppose all attempts to pass such far-reaching and flawed legislation that will deny access to justice for many and undermine the rule of law.
Read the blog written for legal practitioners which highlights the most egregious provisions of the bill.
- Reuters The most intriguing idea in House Republicans’ bill to gut class actions by Alison Frankel
- Bloomberg BNA Bill Targeting Class Actions, MDLs Sent to House by Perry Cooper
- Huffington Post Congress Intends to Destroy Your Rights and Hopes You Won’t Notice By Joanne Doroshow
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