AIA Welcomes Hearing on Bipartisan Reform Bill

February 8, 2002

The American Insurance Association (AIA) said it welcomes the Feb. 6 hearing on class action lawsuit reform as a positive step toward bringing balance and fairness to the American legal system.

The hearing, convened by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), focused on the bipartisan Class Action Fairness Act of 2001, authored by Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) and co-sponsored by Chairman Sensenbrenner, Representative Jim Moran (D-VA), and other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

“This is a balanced bill. It will allow consumers their day in court while adding consumer protections to make the system fairer and simpler,” said Melissa Shelk, AIA vice president for federal affairs, adding that the consumer protections include a “plain English” requirement and judicial scrutiny of “coupon” settlements.

The bill allows for the national, multi-state class action lawsuits to be held in federal court instead of state courts. “The federal courts are where these suits belong, and that’s why the founding fathers established a system of minimal diversity in the federal court system for cases like these that cross state boundaries,” Shelk said.

“Congressional action is urgently needed to restore fairness to our legal system, and today’s hearing is an important step forward. We applaud Chairman Sensenbrenner for convening the hearings, and we look forward to working with the bipartisan cosponsors of this bill as it works its way through the legislative process,” Shelk said.

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