ClassActionBlawg.com has a short post, entitled "Congressmen seek investigation on practices of class action lawyers: A good use of taxpayer dollars," that says a lot. Referring to a CFO.com news story, ClassActionBlawg.com offers a modest proposal to the legislators that want to put the entire class action system under the microscope, all on account of recent media coverage of a few bad apples (Lerach, et al.). (See, Plourd, On the Hill, Trying to Put Plaintiffs' Bar on the Defensive (May 6, 2008) www.cfo.com.)
The post on ClassActionBlawg.com is short, so I repeat the core of it here:
Certainly, there have been some high-profile abuses among members of the plaintiffs’ class action bar recently. But these are examples of individual arrogance and greed, not evidence of an epidemic in need of a Congressional investigation–especially in light of the myriad other things Congress could be doing these days. The acts of a few bad apples shouldn’t ruin the bunch.
Among other things, Boehner and Smith seek “[r]eforms that Congress can make to rid the judicial system of [class action] abuses.” If you really want to spend government money to prevent class action abuse, here’ s a modest proposal from a class action defense lawyer’s perspective: try better funding for the courts. If there were more, better-paid judges available to give the time and thoughtful analysis needed in carrying out their function as gatekeepers rather than simply doing whatever they can to manage their overflowing dockets, maybe there wouldn’t be any incentive to pursue frivolous class actions and abusive tactics. Just an idea.
It is worth emphasizing that Paul Karlsgodt practices primarily on the defense side of class actions. The class action device isn't "broken" because of few bad actors. Every profession has them. Let's entrust our court system to talented jurists that are appropriately compensated. Let's give them the resources they need to do their job in an orderly manner, and let's give them facilities that aren't crumbling and overcrowded. The Complex Litigator seconds ClassActionBlawg.com's proposal.