The U.S. House of Representatives is set to consider a piece of legislation that is designed to reform the existing federal class action litigation standards by requiring that class actions divide proposed classes into class members who have been injured and class members who have not been injured. The two groups would be maintained in separate class action lawsuits. Called the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015 (H.R. 1927), the text of the proposed bill states:
“No federal court shall certify any proposed class unless the party seeking to maintain a class action affirmatively demonstrates through admissible evidentiary proof that each proposed class member suffered an injury of the same type and extent as the injury of the named class representative or representatives.”
The bill defines the term “injury” as the damages alleged in the lawsuit. If the legislation is enacted, class action plaintiffs will need to demonstrate that the class members have experienced a similar type and scope of damages as the representative of the lawsuit. Also, when certifying a class action, federal judges will need to include an analysis and description of whether the plaintiff has satisfied this requirement and whether each class member shares a similar type of injury.
An example of the type of class action in which this bill would have the most impact is a product liability action alleging that the product in question suffers from a design defect. To recover damages in a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff must show that the device is unreasonably dangerous as designed and that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result of that unreasonably dangerous design.
It may be the case that the defective design has not manifested in a large number of the units of the product. As a result, there would need to be one class of plaintiffs who purchased the product and who have not suffered damages, and a separate class of plaintiffs who purchased the product and who did suffer damages.
In a letter dated June 23, 2015, the American Bar Association (ABA) informed the House Judiciary Committee’s Chariman that it opposed the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015, stating that the act would “make it more difficult for large numbers of injured parties to efficiently seek redress in court.” Also, the ABA stated that such a requirement would impose undue burdens on the judicial system, which is already facing a shortage of resources nationwide.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as the result of a dangerous drug, defective product, or faulty medical device, you may be entitled to compensation, either in an individual lawsuit or as a member of a class action proceeding. At Moll Law Group, our dedicated product liability lawyers have represented plaintiffs throughout the nation, including in Texas, California, Florida, and Illinois. We know how daunting an individual action or class action lawsuit can be, and we will stand by you and your family through each step of the litigation. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about the rights and remedies available to you. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your consultation.