H.R. 1115 - Class Action Fairness Act of 2003

COMMITTEE ACTION: REPORTED BY VOICE VOTE on Wednesday, June 11, 2003.
FLOOR ACTION:ADOPTED BY RECORD VOTE OF 235-188, AFTER AGREEING ON THE PREVIOUS QUESTION BY A RECORD VOTE OF 229-193 on Thursday, June 12, 2003.
MANAGERS: PRYCE/FROST
108th Congress
1st Session

H.R. 1115 - CLASS ACTION FAIRNESS ACT OF 2003

1. Structured rule.

2. Provides one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on the Judiciary.

3. Provides that the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on the Judiciary now printed in the bill shall be considered as an original bill for the purpose of amendment and shall be considered as read.

4. Waives all points of order against the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on the Judiciary now printed in the bill.

5. Makes in order only those amendments printed in the Rules Committee report accompanying the resolution.

6. Provides that the amendments made in order may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the House or in the Committee of the Whole.

7. Waives all points of order against the amendments printed in the report.

8. Provides one motion to recommit with or without instructions.

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RESOLUTION

Resolved, That at any time after the adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1115) to amend the procedures that apply to consideration of interstate class actions to assure fairer outcomes for class members and defendants, to outlaw certain practices that provide inadequate settlements for class members, to assure that attorneys do not receive a disproportionate amount of settlements at the expense of class members, to provide for clearer and simpler information in class action settlement notices, to assure prompt consideration of interstate class actions, to amend title 28, United States Code, to allow the application of the principles of Federal diversity jurisdiction to interstate class actions, and for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on the Judiciary. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. It shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on the Judiciary now printed in the bill. The committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. All points of order against the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. No amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution. Each amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the House or in the Committee of the Whole. All points of order against such amendments are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. Any Member may demand a separate vote in the House on any amendment adopted in the Committee of the Whole to the bill or to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions.


SUMMARY OF AMENDMENT MADE IN ORDER

1. Sensenbrenner/Boucher/Goodlatte/Moran (VA)/Dooley/Stenholm/Terry #4:
Slightly broadens the category of class action cases that would remain in state court in two ways. First, this amendment raises the aggregate amount in controversy required for federal court jurisdiction from $2 million to $5 million. Second, it allow federal courts discretion to return intrastate class actions in which local law governs to state courts after weighing five factors to determine if the case is appropriately of a local character. This discretion would come into play when between one-third and two-thirds of the plaintiffs are citizens of the same state as the primary defendants. If less than one-third are citizens of the same state, the case would automatically be eligible for federal court jurisdiction under the new diversity rules in this bill. Likewise, if more than two-thirds are citizens of the same state, the case would not be subject to the new rules in this bill and would remain in state court. (10 minutes)

2. Jackson-Lee #6:
Prevents domestic corporations from not being subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. Federal Courts, and liability in class action lawsuits filed in Federal Courts, through mergers or repatriations with foreign companies. (10 minutes)

3. Lofgren/Linda Sanchez #3:
Preserves the ability of local prosecutors to enforce state antitrust and consumer protection laws in state courts. (10 minutes)

4. Sandlin/Conyers #8:
Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute. Strikes everything after the enacting clause and inserts the following:
Section 1 of the amendment contains a short title, reference, and table of contents.
Section 2 of the amendment establishes improved procedures for certain class actions, including provisions for the use of coupon settlements, court approval of settlements, sealing of class action documents, and interlocutory appeals.
Section 3 of the amendment enacts the recommendations of the United States Judicial Conference with respect to notice to class members.
Section 4 of the amendment establishes a state court multi-district litigation panel for class actions. The panel allows for the consolidation of class actions pending in different state courts for pretrial proceedings.
Section 5 of the amendment authorizes the National Center for State Courts to develop and implement a procedure by which state courts or the state court multi-district litigation panel may transfer certain class actions to federal court. (20 minutes)

TEXT OF THE AMENDMENTS(.pdf)

1. Sensenbrenner/Boucher/Goodlatte/Moran (VA)/Dooley/Stenholm/Terry

2. Jackson-Lee

3. Lofgren/Linda Sanchez