What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Rights of Individuals in the Workplace : S. 5. Class-Action Lawsuits/Procedural Vote on Motion to Commit with Instructions Bill to Move Many Interstate, Class-Action Lawsuits from State to Federal Courts, Which are Less Friendly to Consumers. (2005 house Roll Call 37)
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S. 5. Class-Action Lawsuits/Procedural Vote on Motion to Commit with Instructions Bill to Move Many Interstate, Class-Action Lawsuits from State to Federal Courts, Which are Less Friendly to Consumers.
house Roll Call 37     Feb 17, 2005
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House defeated a motion to commit to committee with instructions S. 5, a bill to move many interstate, class-action lawsuits (multiple claims from various lawsuits with parties in more than one state combined into one, larger lawsuit) from state to federal courts and to make other changes regarding this type of lawsuit. (A motion to commit to committee with instructions means to send a piece of legislation to committee with instructions to take a specific action; this motion is often a last attempt by the opponents of a bill to kill or amend substantively the pending legislation.) Procedure in federal courts is generally considered less friendly to consumers than in state courts. The bill, strongly favored by corporations that assert that a glut of lawsuits is threatening their survival, would grant federal jurisdiction over these suits where the total disputed amount is larger than $5 million. Supporters of the legislation claimed that the bill would prevent what they consider to be abuses such as "forum shopping;" i.e., when lawyers file suits in the jurisdictions where plaintiffs tend to win large awards. In opposing the legislation, Progressives were joined by civil rights, consumer and other public interest groups in arguing that it would prevent seriously injured plaintiffs from obtaining justice, as the federal courts are already overburdened with case backlogs and because those courts might be less inclined to approve large monetary awards even where they are truly deserved. The House defeated the motion to commit with instructions by a vote of 175 to 249, thereby defeating Progressives and approving legislation that would make it more difficult for whole classes of injured consumers to obtain justice in the federal courts.

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