On March 9, 2017, the House passed H.R. 985, the so-called “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017.” The text of the bill was written by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization controlled by a handful of large corporations, who would like nothing more than to prevent you from holding them accountable for bad acts.
This legislation would make it virtually impossible to bring class action lawsuits, effectively closing the courthouse doors to millions of Americans in need. The March 9 vote in the House represented a very narrow victory (220 – 201), setting the stage for a real battle to take place in the U.S. Senate, where big business will lobby and twist every arm it can to obtain the votes needed to make this bill a reality.
The March 9 vote was much closer than a vote for a similar bill in the last Congress which promptly died when it became clear what these big corporations were actually trying to do — make themselves unaccountable to Americans. Fourteen Republicans opposed the bill this time around, and the bill failed to conjure even a single Democrat voting in support. This is likely due to public education campaigns highlighting the real dangers of this bill that were effectively disseminated to our legislators who are constantly barraged with bills from powerful special interests.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the author of this “shut the Courthouse” bill, functions like a consulting firm hired by big corporations, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying to protect big business. While it claims to represent millions of businesses, in reality, it is funded by only a handful of large, powerful, multinational corporations. Make no mistake: while this bill will prevent ordinary citizens from filing consumer, employment, and other actions against large corporations, the courthouse doors will remain wide open for those corporations to protect their interests. The Chamber is not concerned with “Fairness,” but only its corporate backers bottom-line, regardless of the cost to or burden on society and working Americans. The Chamber is consistently on the wrong side of history, lobbying against engagement in WWII, against the Civil Rights Act, against the Americans with Disabilities Act and-and other issues that impinged on the special interests of those that control it.
Please call your Senator and ask them to vote ‘No’ the so-called “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017.” If this bill becomes law, everyday people who are cheated or wronged will no longer have the opportunity to band together and seek justice through our courts. We urge you to call the Capitol Switchboard today at (202) 224-3121 and ask the operator to connect you to your Senator. After you complete this, tweet @OpenTheCourt using “#RighttoFight”, and we’ll retweet your message, building momentum to get others dialing and on the phone with their representatives.
This site aims to include all information about this attack on our courts. We hope to inform the public and make clear to our lawmakers how disastrous this bill will be to the millions of Americans who rely on the courts to protect them from corporate wrongdoing. The bill will make it functionally impossible to bring class actions to vindicate civil rights, protect consumers from wrongdoing, challenge monopolistic behavior, and curb illegal employment practices. OpenTheCourt.org is committed to ensuring that the American people can rely on the courts for help, and we aim to reach more and more people to make this fight ours.
This battle cannot just be fought in the Senate, however. This is a struggle that we must personally take on, and with your help, win. So please educate yourself, tell your friends, and contact your representatives in Washington concerning giant corporations’ effort to shut down our access to the courts.