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An Introduction To Issues That Must Be Addressed By Any Country Considering Enacting Or Modifying Class Action Legislation

Several countries are considering the use of class action lawsuits. This article’s purpose is to identify the important issues one should consider in evaluating the fairness and efficacy of class action litigation.

A class action lawsuit can be devastating. The staggering costs of merely defending against one – let alone the cost of actually losing – have forced many American corporations into bankruptcy or caused their management teams to be replaced. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that class action discovery can be a form of extortion; it can force a company to surrender and settle a lawsuit, because it cannot afford to properly defend itself.

When it devised the class action lawsuit as a procedure to streamline civil litigation, Congress did not anticipate it would be used as a weapon to injure companies which may have technically violated that law, but not caused any harm. In California, alone, up to 100 class action lawsuits are filed every week – thousands every year. Most are not properly class actions in the true sense; they are not legal proceedings in which persons represent interests common to a large group of persons who have been actually injured. Instead, most are premised on the technical violation of some statute, where the supposed violation has not actually harmed anyone. Frequently, an attorney files a class action so he can compel defendants to settle it, and he can demand attorney fees as a direct result. Essentially, most class action lawsuits are “attorney fee motions” disguised as “legitimate” lawsuits.

A country considering implementing a class action system should learn from our flawed system. The author cannot address all of the factors a country should consider in determining whether to implement a class action procedure, or what limits to impose to prevent lawsuits from being filed for the sake of generating attorney fees rather than helping injured people. But the author hopes it will give legislative bodies pause to consider consequences that follow class action litigation.

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To assist class action defense attorneys anticipate the types of cases against which they will have to defend in California, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from March 11 – 17, 2011, during which time 81 class actions were filed in these courts. The effect of the California Supreme Court’s Song-Beverly opinion continues to be felt, as it precipitated the filing of another 21 new class actions alleging violations of Song-Beverly — well below the 43 Song-Beverly class actions filed during the last reporting period, but representing 26% of the total number of new class actions filed during this reporting period and good enough to hold onto the top spot among class actions filed during the past week. The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging labor law claims, which came in a close second with 18 new class actions (22% of the total number of new class actions filed) and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 14 new filings (17% of the total number of new class actions filed).

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As a resource for California class action defense attorneys, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from March 4 – 10, 2011, during which time a record 98 class actions were filed in these courts. The California Supreme Court’s recent Song-Beverly opinion continues to fuel the filing of lawsuits, and this past week a stunning 43 new class actions were filed alleging violations of Song-Beverly, representing 44% of the total number of new class actions filed during this reporting period. The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging labor law claims with 21 new class actions (21% of the total number of new class actions filed) and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 17 new filings (17% of the total number of new class actions filed).

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To assist class action defense attorneys anticipate the types of cases against which they will have to defend in California, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from February 25 – March 3, 2011, during which time a remarkably high number of class actions (74) were filed in these courts. The California Supreme Court’s recent Song-Beverly opinion precipitated the filing of 27 new class actions alleging violations of Song-Beverly, representing 36% of the total number of new class actions filed during this reporting period. The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging labor law claims with 21 new class actions (28% of the total number of new class actions filed) and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 8 new filings (11% of the total number of new class actions filed).

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As a resource to California class action defense attorneys, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from February 11 – 17, 2011, during which time a remarkably high number of class actions (89) were filed in these courts. The California Supreme Court’s recent Song-Beverly opinion precipitated the filing of 37 new class actions alleging violations of Song-Beverly, representing 42% of the total number of new class actions filed during this reporting period. The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging labor law claims with 24 new class actions (27% of the total number of new class actions filed) and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 9 new filings (10% of the total number of new class actions filed).

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To assist California class action defense attorneys anticipate the types of cases against which they will have to defend, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from February 4 – 10, 2011, during which time 65 new class actions were filed in these courts. Prior to this year, labor law class action routinely accounted for more than half of the new class actions filed each week, but this year that has not been true. During this reporting period, 29 new labor law class actions filed (45% of the total number of new class actions filed). The only other category to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 16 new filings (25% of the total number of new class actions filed).

Published on:

As a resource to class action defense attorneys, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from January 28 – February 3, 2011, during which time 54 new class actions were filed in these courts. Labor law class action files approached the 50% mark, accounting for 25 of the new labor law class actions filed (46% of the total number of new class actions filed). And yet again, the only other category to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 15 new filings (28% of the total number of new class actions filed).

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To assist class action defense attorneys anticipate the types of cases against which they will have to defend in California, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from January 21 – 27, 2011, during which time a relatively high number of new class actions were filed — 64. Over the past few years, labor law class actions have often accounted for more than half of the new class actions filed during any particular week. But in 2011, this has not yet proved to be true. In fact, during the two reporting periods this year, only 38% and 39%, respectively of the new class actions filed involved employment-related claims. This reporting period, only 26 new labor law class actions were filed, representing only 41% of the total number of new class actions filed. The only other category to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 20 new filings, representing 31% of the total number of new class actions filed.

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As a resource for California class action defense attorneys, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from January 14 – 20, 2011, during which time 44 new class actions were filed in these California state and federal courts. While labor law class actions have often accounted for more than half of the new class actions filed during any particular week, recently that has not been true. In fact, during the last reporting period only 38% of the new class actions filed involved employment-related claims. This reporting period, only 17 new labor law class actions were filed, representing only 39% of the total number of new class actions filed. The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of federal securities laws with 12 new filings, representing 27% of the total number of new class actions filed, and class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 6 new filings, representing 14% of the total number of new class actions filed.

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To assist class action defense attorneys anticipate the types of claims against which they will have to defend in California courts, we provide weekly, unofficial summaries of the legal categories for new class action lawsuits filed in California state and federal courts in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Oakland/Alameda and Orange County areas. We include only those categories that include 10% or more of the class action filings during the relevant time frame. This report covers the time period from January 7 – 13, 2011, during which time 52 new class actions were filed in these California state and federal courts. Labor law class actions often account for more than half of the new class actions filed during any particular week; this reporting period, however, only 20 of these new class actions alleged employment-related claims, representing a relatively low 38% of the total number of new class actions filed. The only other categories to break the 10% threshold involved class actions alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which includes false advertising claims, with 11 new filings, representing 21% of the total number of new class actions filed, and class actions alleging violations of federal securities laws with 8 new filings, representing 15% of the total number of new class actions filed.