The House voted 279-149 Thursday to send President Bush a bill that will move jurisdiction over large, multi-state class-action lawsuits into the federal courts.[@@]
The Senate passed the same bill last week by a 72-26 vote.
The bill passed more quickly than most supporters had hoped.
The American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, welcomed the S. 5 vote.
“It looks like we finally crossed the goal line,” ACLI spokesman Jack Dolan says. “It appears as if we will finally get sensible reform. Life insurers applaud the House, Senate and the Bush administration for finally getting this bill through the Congress.”
The bill would require class-action suits seeking $5 million or more in damages to be heard in state court if the primary defendant and more than one-third of the plaintiffs were from the same state. If fewer than one-third of the plaintiffs were from the same state as the primary defendant, the case would go to federal court.
The bill also would limit lawyers’ fees in so-called coupon settlements – when plaintiffs get discounts on products instead of financial settlements – by linking the fees to a coupon’s redemption rate or the actual number of hours the lawyers spent working on a case.