United States: In Westlaw Article, Akin Gump Lawyers Examine GOP’s Class Action Reform Plan
Last Updated: June 29 2017

Westlaw Journal Class Action has published the article "Examining the GOP's class action reform plan," written by Akin Gump litigation partner Neal Marder, counsel Ali Rabbani and associate Annie Banks. The article discusses the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017, a Republican-sponsored class action reform bill that has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives, pointing out that it would "significantly alter the way class actions proceed in the federal court system."

The authors describe the new substantive requirements of the legislation, which they say "would force putative class plaintiffs to make greater legal and factual showings at earlier points in the litigation." They outline the following three points:

  • lead plaintiffs would have to establish before class certification that each member of the proposed class suffered the same type and scope of injury
  • class representatives must demonstrate "a reliable and administratively feasible method for both identifying class members and 'for distributing ... any monetary relief' to them directly"
  • there is a new evidentiary burden for personal injury plaintiffs seeking to join multidistrict class actions

Included in the bill, Marder, Rabbani and Banks write, are other new procedural requirements that could make class actions less appealing for some plaintiffs' attorneys, while others might "make their jobs easier." In addition, there are disclosure changes "that have never before been mandatory across the board, in all cases and jurisdictions."

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