Justice Briefs: Why Class Actions Matter

Via the Public Justice Foundation

Public Justice’s March 2017 Issue of Justice Briefs is Here



Welcome to the March edition of Justice Briefs


Earlier this month, Public Justice launched our largest-ever grassroots campaign. Through media visibility, blogs and calls to action, we mobilized opposition to a proposal in the House of Representatives that would virtually eliminate class actions that have helped consumers, workers and countless other Americans receive justice in our courts. Following a narrow vote in the House, this dangerous proposal now makes its way to the U.S. Senate, where we’ll continue to advocate for its defeat.

In addition to our work on court access, Public Justice also continues to be a leader on issues related to Title IX. In this month’s newsletter, we highlight our work to hold the University of Arkansas accountable under the law, and to fight attempts to narrow Title IX’s reach in unprecedented ways.

As government agencies are dismantled, and lawmakers push to restrict access to our courts, Public Justice is stepping in to preserve our progress and defend our rights. Thank you for being part of our work.






Taking on Congress to Preserve Class Actions



By a narrow vote of 220-201, the U.S House of Representatives recently passed the so-called “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act,” setting the stage for a real battle in the United States Senate to preserve every American’s access to the courts.


If it becomes law, this sweeping proposal would make it virtually impossible to bring a class action lawsuit, effectively locking the courthouse doors to millions of Americans. Through an aggressive grassroots and public education campaign highlighting the real dangers of the bill, Public Justice worked alongside our allies at the American Association for Justice and The Impact Fund to mobilize opposition and call on Congress to defeat the bill.


With your help, we rolled out the largest grassroots campaign in Public Justice’s history, including:

  • An effective, far-reaching series of blogs (like this one) highlighting the impact of the bill. We published a series of blogs on Daily Kos, the Huffington Post and our own website which reached more than 100,000 readers.
  • A grassroots call to action that rallied Public Justice members and supporters to call their Members of Congress and ask for a ‘no’ vote on the bill.
  • A comprehensive press strategy that included a pre-vote press conference and important, favorable press coverage, like this story that was distributed to FOX affiliates across the country.

As the fight to defeat this attack on our courts moves to the Senate, we’ll ramp up our efforts even more. Along with our allies, Public Justice is committed to ensuring that Americans who have been wronged, cheated, harmed or discriminated against can rely on the courts for help.



Illuminating Injustice Award

The nomination period for our Illuminating Injustice Award closes this Friday, March 31.


The purpose of this award is to highlight just one of the many clients our supporters have represented who suffered a catastrophic injury and for certain legal reasons were unable to get the just compensation they deserved. We hope to raise awareness of these types of unfortunate situations and help these injury victims with additional monetary relief in the form of a $25,000 check. Learn more, read the award criteria, and access our new online submission form here.






35th Anniversary: Guardians of Free Speech


This month, in the third of six photo essays we will be unveiling throughout the year, we look at Public Justice’s long history of defending the constitutional rights of those who are targeted by government officials.


When Seattle police responded to the widespread protests against the WTO’s meeting there in 1999 by, among other actions, profiling and arresting peaceful protesters – and then jailing them until the protests ended – Public Justice filed suit on the protesters’ behalf.


A trial team including Past President and Seattle attorney Mike Withey and Public Justice Staff Attorney Leslie Bailey claimed the City had wrongly arrested demonstrators and violated their constitutional rights. A federal jury sided with the protestors and found the city had violated the citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure.


After the verdict, which was covered in over 350 newspapers around the world, the parties reached a $1 million settlement that included the expungement of police records and changes in police training procedures for mass protests.



Defending Title IX


We’re proud to be among the 14 organizations signing onto a brief in support of a University of Arkansas student who is challenging the school’s unacceptable response to sexual assault. Schools must take their responsibility to ensure the safety of students seriously and follow the law.


In an alarming new development, U of A is arguing that it cannot be held financially responsible for failing to adhere to Title IX following the rape of a student on campus. If the University succeeds, it would drastically limit how the law can be applied to public universities.

“What I think is happening here is that some states are feeling empowered by the change in administration to try and press for a more restrictive view of Title IX,” Public Justice Senior Attorney Adele Kimmel recently told BuzzFeed, adding that the school’s stance is a “radical approach.”

Read the full BuzzFeed story about this important case online here.