H.R. 985 or “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017” Could Eliminate Class Action Lawsuits That Allow Injured Consumers to Pursue Justice
Traditionally, class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigations have been among the few tools that allow injured consumers to pursue justice for corporate wrongdoing. However, legislation currently being considered by the U.S. Congress would severely curtail the ability of ordinary people to hold big business accountable for negligent and fraudulent conduct.
“Class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigations level the playing field when consumers are injured as a result of fraud or negligence committed by powerful, deep-pocketed businesses. Without these legal tools at their disposal, the public will be at the mercy of large corporate interests that far too often place profits over public safety,” says Richard W. Schulte, a founding partner of Wright & Schulte LLC, an experienced personal injury and mass torts law firm.
H.R. 985, misleadingly entitled the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017,” has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives without the benefit of public hearings. The bill is now under consideration by the U.S. Senate. Among other thing, H.R. 985 would require plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit to “affirmatively demonstrate” that they “suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative.” Provisions of the bill would also make it much more difficult and expensive for plaintiffs to pursue claims though the multidistrict litigation process.
At this very moment, numerous ongoing class actions and multidistrict litigations underway in federal court are providing ordinary people an opportunity to obtain justice from the big companies that have allegedly caused them harm. For example, hundreds of farmers are currently pursuing lawsuits against Syngenta, Inc. in the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, where federal claims involving the company’s handling of GMO corn seed products have been centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings. All of the cases pending in the litigation allege that the Swiss-based agricultural company made misleading statements regarding the timeline for regulatory approval of the Viptera GMO seed variety in China, resulting in significant financial losses for U.S. farmers. (In Re: Syngenta AG MIR 162 Corn Litigation – MDL No. 2591)
“Few, if any of these farmers, possess the financial resources need to pursue claims against a large, international company like Syngenta,” Mr. Schulte said. “It is not an exaggeration to say that the multidistrict litigation process offers the only chance many of these hardworking plaintiffs will have to obtain compensation for their alleged losses.”
The class action multidistrict litigation process has also allowed thousands of plaintiffs to pursue personal injury and wrongful death claims involving C8 tainted drinking water associated with pollution from DuPont’s Washington Works manufacturing facility in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Earlier this year, DuPont and Chemours agreed to pay $670 million to settle those claims, after juries ruled against the defendants in several bellwether trials. All of the claims included in the litigation were filed after a three-member scientific panel concluded that there were likely links between C8 exposure and certain human illnesses. The panel’s work was funded by the proceeds a class-action lawsuit settlement agreed to by DuPont in 2005. (In Re: E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Company C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433)
wvgazettemail.com/news/20170213/dupont-chemours-agree-to-6707m-settlement-in-c8-cases, Charleston Gazette-Mail, February 13, 2017
“The plaintiffs involved in this litigation experienced a range of injuries, including several types of cancer,” Mr. Schulte said. “Had H.R. 985 been the law of the land, I don’t see how they could have taken action against a huge conglomerate like DuPont. In fact, the original class action that ultimately resulted in the multidistrict litigation ‘may well have been precluded by the bills provision requiring the ‘same type and scope of injury as the named class representative.’”
About Wright & Schulte LLC
Wright & Schulte LLC is an experienced personal injury firm, is dedicated to the belief that America’s legal system should work for the people. Every day, the attorneys of Wright Schulte LLC stand up for the rights of people who have been injured or wronged, and fight tirelessly to ensure that even the world’s most powerful corporations take responsibility for their actions. If you’re looking for a law firm that will guarantee the aggressive and personal representation you deserve, do not hesitate to contact Wright & Schulte LLC today. Free legal evaluations are available through yourlegalhelp.com, or call 1-888-399-0795.
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