Survey Shows Support for Class Action Reform

June 7, 2000

Seventy percent agreed that significant reform of the class action lawsuit system is needed. Forty-four percent of respondents in IRC’s recent survey said that the number of class action lawsuits today is too high.

Only six percent said that the number is too low. Similarly, 41 percent of respondents said that the average size of awards in class action lawsuits is too large, while only 10 percent said that awards are too low.

Most respondents (76 percent) agreed that class action lawsuits give average people the ability to act against big corporations with large legal resources. However, nearly as many respondents (73 percent) believe that class action lawsuits generate a lot of money in legal fees but produce little monetary benefit for the people suing.

“Americans have mixed views about class action lawsuits,” said Elizabeth A. Sprinkel, senior vice president and head of IRC. “While they show concern about individuals’ ability to seek compensation from large organizations, they worry about the number and size of awards of class action lawsuits as well as the share of settlements that attorneys claim.”

The results contained in IRC’s recently released report, Public Attitude Monitor 2000, Issue 1, were based on a survey conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide.

The survey consisted of telephone interviews with 1,000 men and women 18 years old and older conducted in February 2000. Survey participants were selected to be representative of the population of the continental U.S. The survey also addressed attitudes towards third party bad faith lawsuits and insurance fraud.

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