Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hold Reckless Corporations Accountable

When reckless corporations cheat thousands of consumers, illegally exploit their workforce or poison our environment, class-action lawsuits are a powerful tool for holding them accountable.

But corporate cronies in Congress are pushing a bill (H.R. 1927) that would eviscerate this accountability — and let Big Business off the hook for widespread abuses, from nickel-and-dime rip-offs to illegal discrimination to dangerous products that sicken or kill children.

Don’t let Congress deny the public’s power to hold reckless corporations accountable.

Demand that your member of Congress oppose H.R. 1927.

This bill, misleadingly labeled the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act,” is a direct attack on the public’s power to fight corporate misconduct in court.

First, it warps the legal definition of “injury” so that the ONLY kinds of harm that can qualify for a class action are a loss of property or physical trauma.

This re-definition would have made the landmark decision against school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education (which was a class action) impossible — and it would shield corporations (and the government) from being held accountable for numerous abuses, from invasions of privacy to incessant harassment by debt collectors.

Then, adding injustice to injury, the bill goes a step further by requiring every single person in the “class” of a class action to have suffered an identical injury.

So if a bank cheats you out of $50 and me out of $42 and someone else out of $63 and so on with thousands of others, H.R. 1927 would prevent this from becoming a class action, even if the method the bank used to cheat everyone was the same.

Similarly, if a poisonous ingredient in a harmful drug gives one person a rash and another person a heart attack and another person dies and so on with thousands of people, once again, H.R. 1927 would prevent this from becoming a class action, even if the ingredient that poisoned everyone was the same.

This bill is nothing more than an extreme, overreaching attempt to let Big Business avoid the consequences of its profit-driven disregard for consumers.

Send a message urging your representative to oppose H.R. 1927.

Thanks for all you do,

Rick Claypool
Public Citizen’s Online Action Team