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Senators lobbied over class action suit bill

November 23, 2010
The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled April 10 to debate legislation designed to push more class action cases into federal courts, to help unclog state courts and ensure defendants and plaintiffs are treated fairly. Under the bill, cases involving more than $5 million, or ones in which any of the plaintiffs live in a different state than the defendant, could be sent to a federal court. Senate Bill 274, nicknamed the Class Action Fairness Act of 2003, could reach the floor of the Senate in June. The American International Automobile Dealers Association has followed the measure closely. The AIADA urges all dealers to appeal to their senators to support the bill. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Illinois) has indicated he would back the bill. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) has not voiced support, but he reportedly would consider that. Class action reform is important to dealers who, as highly visible business owners, are vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits brought by unscrupulous lawyers seeking to make large profits. And manufacturers and other businesses, if relieved of the threat of frivolous lawsuits, would be encouraged to introduce new products and contribute to the economy through job opportunities and overall business expansion. The Class Action Fairness Act of 2003 would establish a consumer class action bill of rights, including a provision for judicial review and approval of noncash settlements, and standardized settlement notification information.