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U.S. Senate & House Pass Class Action Bill With Little Bite

Feb 18, 2005

The U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Class Action Fairness Act (S-5) on February 10, with a 72-26 vote.The House of Representatives also passed the Act on February 17 with a 279-149 vote.The legislation transfers class action lawsuits from state court to federal court if: ·The claim involves more than 100 plaintiffs; ·The claim involves more than $5 million; and ·More than two-thirds of the plaintiffs are from a different state than the defendant. Several Democrats attempted to introduce amendments to the proposed legislation in the final hours, but each of those attempts was soundly defeated. Left unaltered, the bill moves many multi-state class-action lawsuits from state courts to federal courts, where more stringent rules would govern the cases.The retail automotive industry has supported class-action legislation that can reduce the impact of frivolous litigation on dealerships throughout the country. As you can see in the article following this story, NJ CAR’s analysis finds that this law will not affect the Cerbo case filed in Bergen County in April 2003. While not an earth-shattering change to the status quo, several industry trade associations are trumpeting the passage of the Class Action Fairness Act as a positive first step in fighting frivolous lawsuits.