Class action reform legislation would curb worst abuses, says Vanderbilt professor

A radio story on this is also available. Click here for a fast-downloading MP3 version of the story, or here for a high-quality WAV version. A Vanderbilt professor says that the Class Action Fairness Act currently pending in the U.S. Senate would go a long way toward curbing rampant systemic abuse by both plaintiffs’ attorneys and defendants. The Class Action Fairness Act would make it easier to bring into federal court class action lawsuits originally filed in state courts. Richard A. Nagareda, professor of law at Vanderbilt University Law School, observes: "The bill proceeds from the common-sense idea that class actions directed at nationwide wrongdoing should be handled primarily by federal, not state, courts. The Class Action Fairness Act won’t solve everything, but it would make a solid start toward curbing the worst sorts of abuses in class action litigation—abuses by both plaintiffs’ lawyers and defendants. The most important part of the bill would make it more difficult for the attorneys on both sides to stick class members nationwide with an inadequate settlement agreement by having it rubber-stamped by a friendly judge in some obscure state court. Too many times, lawyers get enormous fees, defendants shed their liabilities and plaintiffs get almost nothing," he said. Nagareda is available to talk about the reforms embodied in the proposed legislation and the likelihood it will survive the battle it faces in the Senate. Editors’ Note: Richard Nagareda has written extensively on class actions, including recent articles in the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review. Broadcast Media Note: Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line. Media contact: Susanne Loftis, (615) 322-NEWS

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