Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would heighten the standards for obtaining class certification by requiring extra scrutiny as to the continuity of the damages claimed by the class representative and the putative class members. Lawmakers voted 211-188 to pass H.R. 1927, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act. The bill states that courts may not certify class action suits unless the plaintiff “affirmatively demonstrates that each proposed class member suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative or representatives.”
“The solution is to direct judges to determine as best they can, early in the proceedings, which proposed class members are significantly and comparably injured, and treat them accordingly,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said on the House floor Friday. His Democratic counterpart, John Conyers, voted against the bill, saying that the class action clause will make it “nearly impossible” to obtain class certification.
The White House has stated its intention to veto the bill, and the bill must still obtain Senate approval. Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor the legislative progress of H.R. 1927 and any similar legislation impacting the contours of Rule 23.