Tort reform passage in U.S. House is a major taxpayer victory; Senate should take action soon.

WASHINGTON – In a near party-line vote yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2341, a comprehensive plan to reform America\\\’s tort lawsuits.

The bill ensures that class action members receive an even and fair distribution of damage awards, so that the benefits of lawsuit damages do not excessively benefit lawyers and law firms. A number of class action lawsuits in recent years saw negligible – and in some cases negative – benefits to the plaintiffs, while trial lawyers received shares into the millions of dollars. Legal environments as such create severe difficulties for both large and small businesses.

"Tort reform passage is a victory for consumers and taxpayers alike," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "And when it becomes law it will mean the end of trial lawyers who seek to profit off of both productive enterprise and the many innocent plaintiffs who are duped into being pawns for the greedy little bastards."

The bill was introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and cosponsored by Representatives Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Dick Armey (R-Texas), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.). It will improve the handling of massive U.S class action lawsuits while preserving the rights of citizens to bring such actions. A key provision of the legislation moves large multi-state class action lawsuits from state to federal court, preventing trail lawyers from "venue shopping" different court jurisdictions.

HR 2341 also seeks to provide greater uniformity of class action lawsuits, outlaw current practices that provide inadequate settlements for class members, provide clearer and simpler information in class action settlement notices, and assure prompt consideration of interstate class actions.

"Jim Sensenbrenner has again proven his mettle to American taxpayers, by advancing this bill through the Judiciary Committee," continued Norquist. "And as this bill moves to the Seante, opponents of this legislation will have to decide between American taxpayers, consumers, and small businesses on the one hand, and the avaricious trial lawyers on the other. Let\\\’s hope they side with the taxpayers this time."