When companies or institutions cheat, harm, or discriminate against large numbers of people, class actions are often the only way to hold them accountable and win justice. That’s why corporate wrongdoers are trying to limit or outright ban class actions nationwide.
What Public Justice Is Doing
Public Justice is the only public interest organization in the country that both aggressively prosecutes a wide range of class actions and has a special project to preserve class actions and prevent their abuse.
Our Class Action Preservation Project has won the leading decisions in the nation striking down class action bans. We have won landmark rulings preserving class actions in the California, New Jersey, New Mexico and Washington state high courts and numerous federal appeals courts. For more than a decade, we have also been defeating proposed class action settlements that would make the corporate defendant happy, but deprive class members of access to justice.
Class action lawsuits are a powerful legal device. Properly used, they are often the only way to achieve justice. Abused, they can impose enormous injustice — and support corporate wrongdoers’ attempts to eliminate them entirely. That’s why our Class Action Preservation Project works so hard to preserve class actions and prevent their abuse.
Taking on Congress to Preserve Class Actions
In March 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 985, the so-called “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act.” This sweeping legislation would have made it virtually impossible to bring a class action lawsuit, effectively locking the courthouse doors to millions of Americans. While the final vote in the House represented a very narrow victory (220 – 201), fortunately, the bill failed to advance in the Senate. We believe that is, in part, because of an aggressive grassroots and public education campaign highlighting the real dangers of this bill from the American Association for Justice, Public Justice and many of our allies.
In 2017, we rolled out the largest grassroots campaign in Public Justice’s history, including:
- An effective, far-reaching series of blogs (like this one) highlighting the impact of this bill. Thanks to an unprecedented effort by Public Justice’s Class Action Preservation Project, we were able to collect dozens of stories about real cases that helped real people. We turned those into a series of blogs on Daily Kos, the Huffington Post and our own website which reached more than 100,000 readers.
- A grassroots call to action that rallied Public Justice members and supporters to call their Members of Congress and ask for a ‘no’ vote on the bill. We heard from many of you who made calls and spoke to Congressional offices (including Speaker Paul Ryan’s staff) about why this bill was so dangerous. Thank you for joining us.
- A comprehensive press strategy – coordinated with our friends at the American Association for Justice and The Impact Fund – that included a pre-vote press conference and important, favorable press coverage, like this story that was distributed to FOX affiliates across the country.
This year, we expect the House GOP leadership to once again take up legislation aimed at wiping away most class action lawsuits. While there isn’t a specific bill pending in Congress, just like in 2017, we won’t be waiting around.
In February 2023, we launched the first in an anticipated series of stories aimed at educating the public about why these bills are so dangerous, and what is at stake. If Republicans do push forward with such a bill in the months ahead, we want to be ahead of the curve, and already have our message out to the public, and our allies lined up and ready to defend us.
This first story, which you can find here, is built around a great jury verdict in a class action brought by our friends at DiCello Levitt, along with counsel from Andrus Anderson LLP, and Anthony Garcia of AG Law. As we note in our blog, we believe it is a particularly strong refutation of the myths and lies the GOP, the Chamber of Commerce and others will use to try and push legislation through Congress.
Read additional stories below:
Along with our allies, Public Justice is committed to ensuring that Americans who have been wronged, cheated, harmed or discriminated against can rely on the courts for help.
- Watch a video of our attorneys speaking at the 2013 Class Action Symposium at the George Washington School of Law.
- To make a special donation to our Class Action Preservation Project, click here.
- Learn more about our work to preserve class actions in a blog post by Summer 2021 Intern Andrew Fernandez here.