“I am proud of the Class Action Fairness Act,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) declares at an American Bar Association seminar. The Class Action Fairness Act was “a long time coming,” but the statute is a key aspect of balanced effort to combat the “explosion of litigation to which corporations are subject,” Sen. Hatch told a roomful of lawyers attending “The Future of Class Action Litigation in America,” a November event sponsored by the ABA’s Tort Trial & Insurance Section. (Editor’s Note: See the CAFA Law Blog post on October 5, 2005, regarding the conference). Sen. Hatch, one of CAFA’s primary authors, noted that CAFA balances the right of access to the courts against huge costs to businesses facing a surge in litigation.
Support for class action reform emerged on both sides of the aisle, Hatch said, noting that extensive debate helped to hammer out CAFA’s overhaul of diversity jurisdiction. He pointed to the amendment offered by Dianne Feinstein (D.-Cal.), which, among other things, precludes CAFA jurisdiction where two-thirds of the members of the proposed class and the primary defendants reside in the state where plaintiffs filed suit. This provision is one example of Congress’ desire to “accommodate the states’ interests in adjudicating local disputes,” according to a transcript of Sen. Hatch’s remarks posted on the ABA’s web site.
Judges are key players in legal reform, Sen. Hatch observed. “I would like to conclude by noting that we cannot have a discussion of the legal system without a discussion of judges . . . we need judges who will let legislators legislate,” Sen. Hatch said.