More than 10 years ago, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). Among other things, CAFA made it easier for defendants in putative state-court class actions to remove their cases to federal court for adjudication. As a result, fewer class actions are litigated in state courts today.
A much broader civil justice reform bill is now working its way through Congress with the potential to signiﬁcantly alter class action and mass action practice in the United States. Known as the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 (FICALA), the bill would make major changes to procedure in both federal class actions and multidistrict litigation (MDL).1 FICALA easily passed the House of Representatives on March 9, 2017, and as of the writing of this article, is in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
FICALA’s purposes and potential effects are the subject of disagreement. The bill’s stated purpose is to ‘‘diminish abuses in class action and mass tort litigation that are undermining the integrity of the U.S. legal system’’ while ‘‘assur[ing] fair and prompt recoveries for class members and multidistrict litigation plaintiffs with legitimate claims.’’2 Opponents argue the bill will ‘‘give the class action mechanism the guillotine’’ or at least put it in a ‘‘straitjacket.’’3
Regardless of one’s perspective, the dramatic changes FICALA would effect are worthy of attention. This article provides background on the proposal and an overview of its extensive provisions.
Click to continue reading the complete article, "CAFA 2.0? Major Class And Mass Action Reform Bill Advances In Congress," which first appeared in Mealey's Litigation Report on April 19, 2017. Republished with permission.