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Class Action Reform

Once considered a tool of judicial economy that aggregated many cases with similar facts or similar complaints into a single action, class actions are now considered a means of defendant extortion and national policy-making by local court judges. 

PROBLEM:  Today, some class actions are meritless cases in which thousands, or millions, of plaintiffs with unique injuries and grievances are granted class status, often without the knowledge of class members.  In many of these cases, plaintiffs' counsel negotiate settlements with the defendants early on that allow the defendants to avoid costly litigation, and rewards the plaintiffs' counsel with millions in legal fees.  Meanwhile, the class members, who play no role in the negotiation process, and who often have no idea that plaintiffs' lawyers are advancing a lawsuit on their behalf, often receive pennies or nearly-worthless coupons. 

ATRA'S POSITION:  ATRA supports state legislation that allows only similar plaintiffs from the forum state with similar claims against similar defendants to be certified as a class.  ATRA also supports legislation that allows the interlocutory (immediate) appeal of class action certification orders. 

OPPOSITION:  The personal injury bar's argument against meaningful class action certification standards -- that flexible standards make the process more efficient by incorporating all like claims, and more fair by ensuring representation for plaintiffs with claims that would not otherwise be profitable for attorneys -- fails to address the hardship imposed by abuse of the device on class members, (who receive pennies, while their lawyers receive millions), defendants, (who are often forced to settle unmeritorious lawsuits), and consumers, (who ultimately bear the burden of class actions through increased costs). 

The personal injury bar's argument against the interlocutory appeal of class action certification orders -- that such orders are appealable at the end of a case -- fails to take into account the strong incentive that defendants have to settle an unmeritorious case once the class is certified in order to save unnecessary litigation costs.
     

Alabama

Class Action Reform: SB 72 (1999); Code of Ala. § 12-16-63.1, §12-16-75; amended §12-16-8, §12-16-8.1, §12-16-63, §12-16-70, §12-16-74, §12-16-76, §12-16-82. Sets procedures to certify class actions.  Codifies Supreme Court rulings to ensure that a defendant receives adequate notice prior to class certification.  Provides for an immediate appeal of any order certifying a class or refusing to certify a class, and for an automatic stay of matters in the trial court pending such appeal.

Arizona

Class Action Reform: S.B. 1346 (2013) Makes changes to how class action lawsuits are treated in Arizona. Most importantly, the bill allows for an interlocutory appeal of the class certification. If the court certifies the class, it is required to certify its action in writing, outlining why the action should be maintained as a class (including providing evidence in support of determination). If an appeal is filed, all discovery and other proceedings shall be stayed, except that if a party makes a motion, the court may permit discovery proceedings to continue during the pendency of the appeal. Finally, the bill provides for the trial court to make appropriate orders governing the management of the proceedings and provide for appropriate orders for the protection of class members during the trial proceedings. 

Colorado

Class Action Reform: HB 1027 (2003); C.R.S. 13-20-901. Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certification.

Florida

Class Action Reform: H.B. 7529 (2006). Prohibits out-of-state residents from filing lawsuits in Florida courts unless the claim occurred or emanated from the state. Requires claimants to prove actual damages in order to maintain certain types of class actions. Would not preclude the Attorney General from bringing a class action to cover statutory penalties.

Class Action Reform: S.B. 2198 (2009). Provides that a stay of judgment is executed during interlocutory appeal.

Georgia

Class Action Reform: HB 792 (2003). Updates Georgia class action laws by providing for detailed procedures for class action cases.  Specifies factors under which a court may decline to exercise jurisdiction in a cause of action of a nonresident occurring outside the state.

Class Action Reform: S.B. 19 (2005). Specifies detailed procedures for the filing and certification of class action lawsuits.  Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications.

Kansas

Class Action Reform: H.B. 2764 (2004) Amended K.S.A. § 60-223. Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications.

Louisiana

Class Action Reform: HB 1984 (1997). Updates Louisiana class action laws by providing objective definitions of class action terms, and detailed procedures for class action cases.

Class Action Venue Reform: H.B. 464 (2012) Provides that when two or more actions requesting the same certification of a class are filed in two or more Louisiana courts regarding the same transaction or occurrence at the same location, and such classes would encompass one or more of the same plaintiffs suing in the same capacities against the same defendants, the defendant may have all such actions transferred to the district court where the event occurred.  Provides that when two or more actions requesting certification of a class are filed in two or more Louisiana courts regarding multiple related transactions or occurrences in different locations, the defendant may have all such actions transferred to the district court where the first suit was brought.  Also, if within 30 days of certification of a class action, there are related putative class actions pending, they may be transferred to the court where the related action has been certified.  Defines domicile for venue purposes, with regards to a corporation or business, as either the state of formation or the state of its principal place of business, whichever is most pertinent to the particular issue. 

Missouri

Class Action Reform: H.B. 1211 (2004); § 512.020 R.S.Mo. Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications.

Ohio

Class Action Reform: HB 394 (1998); ORC Ann. 2505.02. Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certification.

Oklahoma

Class Action Reform: HB 1603 (2009). Defines who can be a member of a class and set a procedure for the court to determine class attorneys and fees to be paid.  Allows the court to appoint an independent attorney to represent the class in any dispute over attorneys fees.  Provides that in coupon settlements, the attorney shall receive fee in coupons. Held unconstitutional by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in Douglas v. Cox Retirement Properties, June 2013. 

Class Action Reform- S.B. 704 (2011) Adopts Iqbal/Twombly language and adds a new requirement for class action lawsuits.  Provides that an action may be maintained as a class action if the petition contains factual allegations sufficient to demonstrate a plausible claim for relief.

Class Action Reform: S.B. 16 (2013) Defines who can be a member of a class and set a procedure for the court to determine class attorneys and fees to be paid.  Allows the court to appoint an independent attorney to represent the class in any dispute over attorneys’ fees.  Provides that in coupon settlements, the attorney shall receive fee in coupons.

Class Action Reform: H.B. 1013 (2013) Adopted the expanded federal rule as a foundation for class actions.  Includes specific procedures and guides the court must follow in appointing an attorney to represent the class.  Requires specific findings that must be included in an order certifying a class.  Requires more specific information be included in the notice provided to potential class members if a class is certified.  Calls for more specific court oversight of the case, particularly regarding dismissals and settlements.  Limits non-resident membership in state class actions and allows the court to stay, transfer or dismiss a case if it should be heard in another court

Tennessee

Class Action Reform: HB 2008 / SB 1522 (2011); Tenn. Code Ann. § 29. Provides for interlocutory appeal of class certifications.

Texas

Class Action Reform: HB 4 (2003). Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certification.  Reforms attorney fees whereby fees are based on time and cost expended rather than a percentage of recovery.  Provides for stay on all proceedings during appeal of class certification.  Provides for administrative relief which requires a court to consider administrative relief from state agencies before certifying a class.

2013
Oklahoma
Class Action Reform: H.B. 1013 (2013)

Adopted the expanded federal rule as a foundation for class actions.  Includes specific procedures and guides the court must follow in appointing an attorney to represent the class.  Requires specific findings that must be included in an order certifying a class.  Requires more specific information be included in the notice provided to potential class members if a class is certified.  Calls for more specific court oversight of the case, particularly regarding dismissals and settlements.  Limits non-resident membership in state class actions and allows the court to stay, transfer or dismiss a case if it should be heard in another court

2013
Oklahoma
Class Action Reform: S.B. 16 (2013)

Defines who can be a member of a class and set a procedure for the court to determine class attorneys and fees to be paid.  Allows the court to appoint an independent attorney to represent the class in any dispute over attorneys’ fees.  Provides that in coupon settlements, the attorney shall receive fee in coupons.

2013
Arizona
Class Action Reform: S.B. 1346 (2013)

Makes changes to how class action lawsuits are treated in Arizona. Most importantly, the bill allows for an interlocutory appeal of the class certification. If the court certifies the class, it is required to certify its action in writing, outlining why the action should be maintained as a class (including providing evidence in support of determination). If an appeal is filed, all discovery and other proceedings shall be stayed, except that if a party makes a motion, the court may permit discovery proceedings to continue during the pendency of the appeal. Finally, the bill provides for the trial court to make appropriate orders governing the management of the proceedings and provide for appropriate orders for the protection of class members during the trial proceedings. 

2012
Louisiana
Class Action Venue Reform: H.B. 464 (2012)

Provides that when two or more actions requesting the same certification of a class are filed in two or more Louisiana courts regarding the same transaction or occurrence at the same location, and such classes would encompass one or more of the same plaintiffs suing in the same capacities against the same defendants, the defendant may have all such actions transferred to the district court where the event occurred.  Provides that when two or more actions requesting certification of a class are filed in two or more Louisiana courts regarding multiple related transactions or occurrences in different locations, the defendant may have all such actions transferred to the district court where the first suit was brought.  Also, if within 30 days of certification of a class action, there are related putative class actions pending, they may be transferred to the court where the related action has been certified.  Defines domicile for venue purposes, with regards to a corporation or business, as either the state of formation or the state of its principal place of business, whichever is most pertinent to the particular issue. 

2011
Oklahoma
Class Action Reform- S.B. 704 (2011)

Adopts Iqbal/Twombly language and adds a new requirement for class action lawsuits.  Provides that an action may be maintained as a class action if the petition contains factual allegations sufficient to demonstrate a plausible claim for relief.

2011
Tennessee
Class Action Reform: HB 2008 / SB 1522 (2011); Tenn. Code Ann. § 29.

Provides for interlocutory appeal of class certifications.

2009
Oklahoma
Class Action Reform: HB 1603 (2009).

Defines who can be a member of a class and set a procedure for the court to determine class attorneys and fees to be paid.  Allows the court to appoint an independent attorney to represent the class in any dispute over attorneys fees.  Provides that in coupon settlements, the attorney shall receive fee in coupons.

Held unconstitutional by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in Douglas v. Cox Retirement Properties, June 2013. 

2009
Florida
Class Action Reform: S.B. 2198 (2009).

Provides that a stay of judgment is executed during interlocutory appeal.

2006
Florida
Class Action Reform: H.B. 7529 (2006).

Prohibits out-of-state residents from filing lawsuits in Florida courts unless the claim occurred or emanated from the state. Requires claimants to prove actual damages in order to maintain certain types of class actions. Would not preclude the Attorney General from bringing a class action to cover statutory penalties.

2005
Georgia
Class Action Reform: S.B. 19 (2005).

Specifies detailed procedures for the filing and certification of class action lawsuits.  Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications.

2004
Kansas
Class Action Reform: H.B. 2764 (2004) Amended K.S.A. § 60-223.

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications.

2004
Missouri
Class Action Reform: H.B. 1211 (2004); § 512.020 R.S.Mo.

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications.

2003
Colorado
Class Action Reform: HB 1027 (2003); C.R.S. 13-20-901.

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certification.

2003
Georgia
Class Action Reform: HB 792 (2003).

Updates Georgia class action laws by providing for detailed procedures for class action cases.  Specifies factors under which a court may decline to exercise jurisdiction in a cause of action of a nonresident occurring outside the state.

2003
Texas
Class Action Reform: HB 4 (2003).

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certification.  Reforms attorney fees whereby fees are based on time and cost expended rather than a percentage of recovery.  Provides for stay on all proceedings during appeal of class certification.  Provides for administrative relief which requires a court to consider administrative relief from state agencies before certifying a class.

1999
Alabama
Class Action Reform: SB 72 (1999); Code of Ala. § 12-16-63.1, §12-16-75; amended §12-16-8, §12-16-8.1, §12-16-63, §12-16-70, §12-16-74, §12-16-76, §12-16-82.

Sets procedures to certify class actions.  Codifies Supreme Court rulings to ensure that a defendant receives adequate notice prior to class certification.  Provides for an immediate appeal of any order certifying a class or refusing to certify a class, and for an automatic stay of matters in the trial court pending such appeal.

1998
Ohio
Class Action Reform: HB 394 (1998); ORC Ann. 2505.02.

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certification.

1997
Louisiana
Class Action Reform: HB 1984 (1997).

Updates Louisiana class action laws by providing objective definitions of class action terms, and detailed procedures for class action cases.

Constitutionality: Unchallenged

Oklahoma
Class Action Reform: H.B. 1013 (2013)

Adopted the expanded federal rule as a foundation for class actions.  Includes specific procedures and guides the court must follow in appointing an attorney to represent the class.  Requires specific findings that must be included in an order certifying a class.  Requires more specific information be included in the notice provided to potential class members if a class is certified.  Calls for more specific court oversight of the case, particularly regarding dismissals and settlements.  Limits non-resident membership in state class actions and allows the court to stay, transfer or dismiss a case if it should be heard in another court

Oklahoma
Class Action Reform: S.B. 16 (2013)

Defines who can be a member of a class and set a procedure for the court to determine class attorneys and fees to be paid.  Allows the court to appoint an independent attorney to represent the class in any dispute over attorneys’ fees.  Provides that in coupon settlements, the attorney shall receive fee in coupons.

Arizona
Class Action Reform: S.B. 1346 (2013)

Makes changes to how class action lawsuits are treated in Arizona. Most importantly, the bill allows for an interlocutory appeal of the class certification. If the court certifies the class, it is required to certify its action in writing, outlining why the action should be maintained as a class (including providing evidence in support of determination). If an appeal is filed, all discovery and other proceedings shall be stayed, except that if a party makes a motion, the court may permit discovery proceedings to continue during the pendency of the appeal. Finally, the bill provides for the trial court to make appropriate orders governing the management of the proceedings and provide for appropriate orders for the protection of class members during the trial proceedings. 

Louisiana
Class Action Venue Reform: H.B. 464 (2012)

Provides that when two or more actions requesting the same certification of a class are filed in two or more Louisiana courts regarding the same transaction or occurrence at the same location, and such classes would encompass one or more of the same plaintiffs suing in the same capacities against the same defendants, the defendant may have all such actions transferred to the district court where the event occurred.  Provides that when two or more actions requesting certification of a class are filed in two or more Louisiana courts regarding multiple related transactions or occurrences in different locations, the defendant may have all such actions transferred to the district court where the first suit was brought.  Also, if within 30 days of certification of a class action, there are related putative class actions pending, they may be transferred to the court where the related action has been certified.  Defines domicile for venue purposes, with regards to a corporation or business, as either the state of formation or the state of its principal place of business, whichever is most pertinent to the particular issue. 

Oklahoma
Class Action Reform- S.B. 704 (2011)

Adopts Iqbal/Twombly language and adds a new requirement for class action lawsuits.  Provides that an action may be maintained as a class action if the petition contains factual allegations sufficient to demonstrate a plausible claim for relief.

Tennessee
Class Action Reform: HB 2008 / SB 1522 (2011); Tenn. Code Ann. § 29.

Provides for interlocutory appeal of class certifications.

Florida
Class Action Reform: S.B. 2198 (2009).

Provides that a stay of judgment is executed during interlocutory appeal.

Florida
Class Action Reform: H.B. 7529 (2006).

Prohibits out-of-state residents from filing lawsuits in Florida courts unless the claim occurred or emanated from the state. Requires claimants to prove actual damages in order to maintain certain types of class actions. Would not preclude the Attorney General from bringing a class action to cover statutory penalties.

Georgia
Class Action Reform: S.B. 19 (2005).

Specifies detailed procedures for the filing and certification of class action lawsuits.  Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications.

Kansas
Class Action Reform: H.B. 2764 (2004) Amended K.S.A. § 60-223.

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications.

Missouri
Class Action Reform: H.B. 1211 (2004); § 512.020 R.S.Mo.

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certifications.

Colorado
Class Action Reform: HB 1027 (2003); C.R.S. 13-20-901.

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certification.

Georgia
Class Action Reform: HB 792 (2003).

Updates Georgia class action laws by providing for detailed procedures for class action cases.  Specifies factors under which a court may decline to exercise jurisdiction in a cause of action of a nonresident occurring outside the state.

Texas
Class Action Reform: HB 4 (2003).

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certification.  Reforms attorney fees whereby fees are based on time and cost expended rather than a percentage of recovery.  Provides for stay on all proceedings during appeal of class certification.  Provides for administrative relief which requires a court to consider administrative relief from state agencies before certifying a class.

Alabama
Class Action Reform: SB 72 (1999); Code of Ala. § 12-16-63.1, §12-16-75; amended §12-16-8, §12-16-8.1, §12-16-63, §12-16-70, §12-16-74, §12-16-76, §12-16-82.

Sets procedures to certify class actions.  Codifies Supreme Court rulings to ensure that a defendant receives adequate notice prior to class certification.  Provides for an immediate appeal of any order certifying a class or refusing to certify a class, and for an automatic stay of matters in the trial court pending such appeal.

Ohio
Class Action Reform: HB 394 (1998); ORC Ann. 2505.02.

Provides for the interlocutory appeal of class action certification.

Louisiana
Class Action Reform: HB 1984 (1997).

Updates Louisiana class action laws by providing objective definitions of class action terms, and detailed procedures for class action cases.

Constitutionality: Challenged and Struckdown

Oklahoma
Class Action Reform: HB 1603 (2009).

Defines who can be a member of a class and set a procedure for the court to determine class attorneys and fees to be paid.  Allows the court to appoint an independent attorney to represent the class in any dispute over attorneys fees.  Provides that in coupon settlements, the attorney shall receive fee in coupons.

Held unconstitutional by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in Douglas v. Cox Retirement Properties, June 2013.