Great Class Actions Post on ACS Blog
I just wrote about how tort "reform" messaging often distracts us from examining and acknowledging the strengths and benefits of our civil justice system. One area in which this is especially true is class action litigation.
In that vein, Elizabeth Cabraser, a partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, writes about the tremendous social benefits of class actions on ACS blog. She says that "class actions can be seen as instruments of cultural change and engines of justice movements." She highlights the frequently discussed as well as the rarely recognized features of class actions. Read her full blog post on ACSBlog, but here's an excerpt:
Roughly a month ago, I was invited to speak on a panel at “Class Actions and Justice,” a conference cosponsored by the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy, Public Justice and the Cardozo School of Law. I was asked to address some of the ways in which class action litigation had been used in the civil rights and human rights context.
In preparing my remarks, I was struck particularly by an obscure class action from Kansas that many progressives fail to recognize as a class action. This was a case that changed the face of our nation, and the way we see ourselves and each other, a case that represented a step toward achieving our nation’s promises – Brown v. Board of Education.
Brown v. Board used what we now would call a Rule 23(b)(1) or (b)(2) class action to achieve, through the rule of law, something that Americans for the most part, individually or in the aggregate, had resisted. Of course, thinking of Brown made me think of other human rights uses of the class action instrument, such as the Marcos litigation brought by roughly 10,000 victims of a generation-long reign of terror in the Philippines, a class action that was fully tried and affirmed on appeal.
Certain benefits of class actions are discussed often. Aside from their role in facilitating judicial efficiency, class actions play powerful roles in ensuring access to justice in our courts. Class actions allow plaintiffs who might not be able to litigate their claims individually, to seek redress in the courts as a group. Also, in limited fund cases, class actions encourage equal relief for the entire group of individuals harmed, not simply those who have the resources to litigate their cases first. However, thinking about Brown v. Board made me reflect upon some of the less discussed benefits to class actions...Keep Reading
This is a great blogopst and folks should comment directly on ACS blog, where the author can answer questions and respond to your thoughts.