Class action lawsuits will be harder to pursue in the future, because the United States Supreme Court has issued two rulings making it much more difficult for plaintiffs to group together into one, big lawsuit and pursue justice against evildoing defendants.
This is not good news for injury victims and their families in Florida or elsewhere in the United States.
Think Erin Brockovich without the ability to get all those folk together into one big lawsuit - the real Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) class action made the basis of that Julia Roberts movie may be the most well-known class action lawsuit among Floridians today.
Class action lawsuits allow a number of injured plaintiffs to group together into one big, fat lawsuit (the group is called a "class") and pool their efforts in pursuing justice. Usually, these class action lawsuits are against huge, rich, powerful corporations, like auto makers or drug manufacturers.
The two cases are Wal-Mart v. Dukes and AT&T v. Concepcion and many people are arguing that this is all politics -- that the conservative majority on the High Court have made life easier for Big Pharma and other big corporate defendants in the future.
Congress is Investigating What the Supreme Court Has Done to Average Joe Plaintiffs
In fact, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has already begun investigating the impact of these rulings with a hearing on June 29, 2011, where the SJC began gathering witness testimony and evidence on these two cases and how their negative impact on class action lawsuits is really barring access of citizens to the courts to address and right bad behavior by huge, powerful corporations.
The Legislative Branch does have the ability to pass laws that could bring protections back to American Plaintiffs that have been hurt by these two opinions. Hopefully, justice will prevail -- but for now, the Supreme Court has curtailed the ability of plaintiffs to sue as a group, and this is good news only for big business defendants.
By July 7, 2011 1:48 PM on