H.R. 985

Keller Rohrback Joins the Non-Partisan ABA and Others in Opposing H.R. 985

Volkswagen.  Exxon-Valdez.  Wells Fargo.  Enron.  Bernie Madoff.

Each of these names is now associated with corporate wrongdoing, and their victims only found relief after plaintiffs’ attorneys worked for years on their behalf.  No single person whose life savings was wiped out by a Ponzi scheme may be able to spend the millions of dollars necessary to take on a Goliath—but by banding together with others who also lost everything, there is strength in numbers.

Class actions help people harness their collective power, and for many it is the only way they can get relief and put an end to serious corporate fraud.  Some in Congress would have you believe that class actions have no purpose and that they serve only to line attorneys’ pockets.  Tell that to the men and women currently lining up to turn in their Volkswagen diesel vehicles, or the people fighting Wells Fargo for opening checking accounts in their name without their consent.

Long an important mechanism for individuals to access justice, the class action is currently under attack.  This week, Congress will introduce the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017 (H.R. 985).  This so-called “fairness” bill is anything but; it would shut the courthouse door for many Americans, and for little gain.  In just a few pages, it manages to confuse plaintiff-side and defense attorneys while meddling in areas best left to the judiciary and threatening our civil rights.

Keller Rohrback firmly rejects this bill and any attempt to curtail access to justice for our clients—including small businesses that would no longer be able to hold large, multi-national conglomerates accountable.  We are not alone in opposing HR 985, and join nearly every major civil rights organization, consumer rights advocates, the non-partisan American Bar Association, and the Judicial Conference of the United States in our fight against this bill.

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on March 9, 2017, on H.R. 985, effectively gutting class actions. It will adversely affect millions of consumers, investors, small businesses and marginalized communities who seek the enforcement of their civil rights. It will result in inequality in the workplace and unscrupulous companies will have a new license to rip off the most vulnerable. Please call your House Representative at (202) 225-3121 and ask them to vote “no” on H.R. 985 and preserve access to the courts for all of us.

If you believe in civil rights and standing up for individuals against the powerful, then you believe in class actions.  If you think all Americans, no matter their bank balance, deserve the right to go to court, join us in saying NO to H.R. 985.

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