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The decline of the once mighty Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
Published on April 4, 2005 By joeKnowledge In Current Events
For me, there is no question whether there is a need to limit class action suits. As with abuse of anything the responce, when it finally comes, usually is too much.

The more I read about the limitations of class actions, the more it would seem that there will be no class action suits at all. Most will be moved to federal courts and the only way federal courts will take them is if there is at least one perticipant that lives in another state that the original lawsuit came from.

So i one company only has business in one state, why WOULD there be a person from another state? What if it is an employee class action? If all of them work in one state, where exactly would a person be found that lives in another state?

Confusion abound...



SOURCE: Legal Affairs

Empty Suits


By Alicia Mundy

THE ASSOCIATION OF TRIAL LAWYERS OF AMERICA has just lost New York senator Charles Schumer. It wanted his vote to block a major new tort reform bill. But the Democrat Schumer's gone and he does not want to be found. Not by ATLA and not by the media, whose calls he and his staff have avoided since he switched sides.

The Class Action Fairness bill, which Schumer long opposed and now supports, would move almost all class action suits, such as those filed over credit card overcharges or defective merchandise sales, from state courts to federal ones, even if all the plaintiffs are in a single state. Between backlogs on federal dockets and a historic lack of interest of federal judges in such suits, say trial lawyers, this move would nearly end class action suits.

In May, Schumer co-signed a letter with another Democrat, Connecticut's Christopher Dodd, promising GOP Senate leader Bill Frist they both would support "class action fairness," which President George W. Bush and America's business lobbies very much want. Dodd is beholden to the insurance industry in his state and his defection isn't shocking. But Schumer? It's unusual for a liberal Democratic senator from New York to turn his back on the friendly financiers at ATLA, long considered one of the mainstays of the national Democratic Party, and particularly of New York's. In late May, ATLA reps assured me that Schumer had not jumped ship. After the senator's defection, Carlton Carl, ATLA's director of media relations, said, "Senator Schumer unfortunately decided to support the class action legislation, but has also indicated he may support some consumer-friendly amendments."

What Carl can't say, but what some of his colleagues in this battle will say off the record, is that the defections are a consequence of the depth to which trial lawyer reputations have sunk in the public's eye. With the public turned against trial lawyers, in significant part because of ATLA's failure to promote them, Democrats desirous of showing pro-business inclinations have little to lose in supporting tort reform. Thus, Schumer is lost.

FOUNDED IN 1946, ATLA has been considered one of the most formidable lobbying forces in Washington for decades. Through the '80s and early '90s, it beat back Congressional and state efforts to cap jury awards, and it stopped attempts to make plaintiffs pay if they lost their cases. At the same time, and against the odds, ATLA stalwarts won settlements...





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