House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) recently introduced the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015 (H.R. 1927) to modify federal class action rules. The bill calls for reform to the current federal class action lawsuit framework by requiring classes to consist of members with the same type and extent of injury. That is, under the bill, no federal court shall certify any proposed class unless the party seeking to maintain a class action affirmatively demonstrates through admissible evidentiary proof that each proposed class member suffered an injury of the same type and extent as the injury of the named class representative or representatives.
The Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice is scheduled to hold a legislative hearing on the bill on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, at which my partner Mark Behrens is set to testify. The sponsors noted that the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act is a simple, one-page bill, that furthers a common sense principle that should apply to class action lawsuits in the future. Only those people who share injuries of the same type and extent should be part of a class action lawsuit. They view the bill as an answer to the glut of "no injury" class actions. In one sense, the bill might be seen as an enhancement of the typicality requirement.
Introduction of the bill followed a February hearing before the Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee on the state of class action law a decade after the enactment of the Class Action Fairness Act .