Class Actions

Class actions developed as a form of litigation in which a group of people claiming similar injuries or damages could band together to sue the same defendant. Nowadays, however, these cases are often pursued with the sole intention to shakedown a defendant—hurting businesses and damaging the American economy. Read More...

The sheer size of some classes is enormous—thousands to sometimes, millions of individual claimants come together in single class actions. The large size of a proposed class could result in huge damage awards, making these cases very risky for businesses despite strong defenses. Consequently, once a court decides that a case can proceed as a class action, most defendants end up settling the case instead of risking a trial—even if they have not done anything wrong.

Unfortunately, plaintiffs’ lawyers have exploited businesses’ caution by filing many meritless class actions—all with the goal of scoring a jackpot settlement where consumers receive minuscule amounts, and lawyers walk away with huge fees. For example, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and our securities laws have sparked enormous class action lawsuits that significantly damage legitimate American businesses all while benefiting plaintiff lawyers. Even more alarming are cy pres cases where some or all of the settlement proceeds go to a charity rather than the class members. The U.S. Department of Justice recently ramped up efforts to review abusive class action practices to curb further exploitation.

The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) helped curb many class action abuses by moving most large, interstate class actions to federal courts, where examination of class actions is generally more rigorous than in state courts. To help address the problems not resolved by CAFA, the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) believes The Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act (FICALA) would help to ensure that class actions are fulfilling their intended purpose. FICALA aims to bring fairness to the current state of class action litigation by closing various loopholes that increase meritless cases, limiting conflicts of interest between these plaintiffs’ attorneys and their class member clients, as well as bringing needed reforms to multidistrict litigation and fraudulent joinder standards.

Suggested Resources

Research
  • Unstable Foundation: <br>Our Broken Class Action System and How to Fix It

    Unstable Foundation:
    Our Broken Class Action System and How to Fix It

    October 24, 2017

    Unstable Foundation examines the pervasive flaws afflicting the United States' class action system. Class actions rarely provide meaningful compensation for class members, and are poorly suited to deterring wrongful conduct. Read More

  • ILR Research Review - Fall 2017

    ILR Research Review - Fall 2017

    November 30, 2017

    This special double-issue of the ILR Research Review features a wealth of insight and analysis on the world's rapidly changing litigation environment. The research contained in this issue targets exploitative litigation at home and abroad, examining numerous developments ranging from hyper-aggressive trial lawyer advertising in the U.S. to the imminent expansion of class actions in Europe. Read More

Additional Resources

All Results for Class Actions

  1. Fairer, Faster, Better: An Empirical Assessment of Employment Arbitration

    May 15, 2019 | Research

    Plaintiffs do better in employment arbitration than in litigation. That's the key finding from research performed by ndp|analytics, which among other things shows that during the study period of 2014-2018, employee-plaintiffs were three times as likely to win arbitration cases that terminated in awards than they were to win comparable cases in litigation. The average dollar award for employee-plaintiffs was over 90 percent higher in arbitration cases than in litigation, and the average arbitration case was also much faster to resolve.... Read More

  2. EPA Says Glyphosate Is Not A Carcinogen

    May 01, 2019 | News

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said yesterday that glyphosate, a key ingredient in weed killers, does not cause cancer in humans, Reuters reports.... Read More

  3. Seventh Circuit May Decide If BMS Ruling Applies To Class Actions

    April 26, 2019 | News

    A case before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals may decide whether the U.S. Supreme Court's Bristol-Myers Squibb decision on mass tort litigation also applies to class actions, Corporate Counsel reports.... Read More

  4. Class Action Defense Costs Projected to Rise For Fifth Straight Year

    April 17, 2019 | News

    A report published this week by the Carlton Fields law firm found that class action defense costs for companies are projected to increase for the fifth consecutive year.... Read More

  5. In the News Today - March 28, 2019

    March 28, 2019 | News

    Florida Lawmakers Consider Whether to Follow Illinois, Open Lawsuit Floodgates... Read More

  6. SCOTUS Punts on Cy Pres Issue

    March 21, 2019 | News

    In an 8-1 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court sent a case regarding the fairness of cy pres settlements back to the Ninth Circuit, Law360 reports.... Read More

  7. ILR Research Review - Spring 2019

    March 21, 2019 | Research

    The rising pace of private securities class actions could present a threat to the health of U.S. capital markets, while the ongoing wave of municipality lawsuits stands in the way of global settlements and undermines the authority of lawmakers and state attorneys general. White papers covered in this edition of the ILR Research Review detail the causes and current state of these litigation trends, along with a full suite of solutions to address them.... Read More

  8. In the News Today - March 11, 2019

    March 11, 2019 | News

    New Report Documents Massive Spike in Food and Beverage Class Actions... Read More

  9. House Committee Holds Hearing On Potential Chemical Regulation

    March 08, 2019 | News

    The Environment Subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee held hearing on potential regulation of a substance that one chemist said "[l]awyers are trying to grab onto," Legal Newsline reports.... Read More

  10. In the News Today - February 27, 2019

    February 27, 2019 | News

    Securities Lawyer Calls for Consistent Standards in Event-Driven Litigation; Pet Food Recall Spurs Seven Class Actions in Four States in Three Weeks... Read More