What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : H.R. 1115. Class Action Lawsuits/Vote on Rules of Debate on a Bill Designed to Curb Class Action Lawsuits (and Opportunities for Justice) by Assigning Original Jurisdiction to Overworked Federal Courts Rather Than State Courts in Those Cases.
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H.R. 1115. Class Action Lawsuits/Vote on Rules of Debate on a Bill Designed to Curb Class Action Lawsuits (and Opportunities for Justice) by Assigning Original Jurisdiction to Overworked Federal Courts Rather Than State Courts in Those Cases.
house Roll Call 266     Jun 12, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

Prior to House floor consideration of a bill, a rule drafted by the House Rules Committee-which in effect is an arm of the majority party leadership-must be adopted to govern debate on the legislation. On this vote, GOP leaders sought passage of a rule handling debate on a bill which would transfer jurisdiction on class action lawsuits from state courts to the federal bench when: 1) the plaintiffs and the defendant are from different states; 2) the number of plaintiffs exceed one-hundred; or 3) the expected damages are in excess of $2 million. Progressives opposed the bill because, in their view, the measure would restrict the ability of plaintiffs to receive timely justice for criminal acts against them. Progressives pointed out that federal courts are already overburdened; adding class action lawsuits to their caseload, Progressives argued, would result in lengthy delays in judicial action. Also of concern to Progressives was a provision in the bill making the proposed rules changes to class action suits retroactive. Progressives pointed out that the retroactivity provision would apply the rules changes to already-filed class action suits against corporate criminals such as Enron and WorldCom; defrauded employees and clients of those corporations, then, would be required to wait for federal judicial action before receiving reparations. Based on their objections to the underlying legislation, Progressives voted against the rule for debate. Despite their opposition, the rule was adopted on a 235-188 vote.

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