A vote in the U.S. House is scheduled this week for a bill that would all but eliminate federal courts’ ability to certify class actions and delay and deny just compensation to asbestos victims. It is crucial that you email your representatives today! Tell them to just say “NO!” to eliminating injured people’s rights!
This bill, H.R. 1927, the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2015” is a legal abomination. This “Frankenbill” combines a bill that requires a huge change to the class action system with another that specifically targets victims of asbestos exposure by requiring the public disclosure of highly sensitive personal information.
Let’s take it one part at a time.
H.R. 1927’s focus on class actions is an egregious move to protect corporations at the expense of injured people. Federal courts would be prevented from certifying class actions unless every class member had the same “type and scope” of injury as the representative named member(s) in the suit.
In other words, it’s a “bail out” bill for corporations such as Volkswagen that engage in large-scale consumer fraud. For example, you and I both bought VW’s that had the concealed defeat device. My complaint is that I lost performance and it cost me more money in fuel, but your complaint is the significant loss in resale value.
If I was the named representative for the class, under H.R. 1927, you would be unable to join the class because our injuries were not of the same “type and scope.” Federal courts could not certify the class in this example unless all members’ complaints were about performance loss and increased fuel expenses. No certification = no class action = no just compensation. That, in turn, means VW and other dishonest corporations get a free pass to cheat you.
The asbestos impact of H.R. 1927 is equally bad for injured people. If you suffer from asbestos-related illness and want just compensation from the asbestos trust system, you would be forced to make a public disclosure – on the Internet – of some very sensitive personal information. This information includes your:
- Work history
- Most likely a portion of your Social Security number
This public disclosure would be online forever, available for use by anyone. So, not only are you facing the significant challenges of asbestos-related illness, but now you have to publish detailed personal information to be compensated, unlike any other injured party in any other type of injury.
The American Association for Justice has created a link to help you write to your representatives asking them to vote NO on H.R. 1927. The link is below and all you have to do is enter your zip code (possibly address, if in a split district) to find your representative. A pre-filled letter is available, but you can add your own comments if you wish.
I strongly urge you to contact your representatives today! This bill taking away your rights to protections from dishonest corporations that either rip you off or expose you to dangerous – potentially deadly – substances cannot be allowed to pass.