WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate on Feb. 10 passed the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (S. 5) by a decisive vote of 72-26, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported in a statement today.
NMMA, along with its coalition partners of manufacturing and business interests, have supported this bill for the past several years. Although the legislation had encountered opposition in the past, 18 democrats joined in a bipartisan vote to move this much-needed tort reform measure out of the Senate, stated the association.
This bill will implement several measures to reduce the costs associated with frivolous law suits and significantly reform the current tort system in the United States. Class actions have grown into a cottage industry whereby plaintiff attorneys “forum shop” for the best state court to file their cases based on whether that court has a history of large financial awards, NMMA reported. The Class Action Fairness Act will update judicial rules for transferring class action lawsuits to federal courts from state courts, which are notorious for accepting frivolous litigation. Senate passage of this bill signals bipartisan acknowledgement that the cottage industry of class action litigation has significantly increased the cost of doing business in the United States, according to the association.
“This bill protects our members from costly, frivolous lawsuits,” said NMMA Vice President of Government Relations Monita Fontaine. “It is crucial pro-business legislation that is necessary to maintain a pro-growth, business-friendly atmosphere in the U.S., allowing our manufacturers to grow their businesses, create more jobs for American workers, and compete internationally.”
NMMA was part of a coalition pushing for class action reform that included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The bill has been sent to the House for consideration. It is expected to be passed out of the House quickly and on the President’s desk to be signed into law as early as next week.