Disability Rights Organizations Oppose H.R. 985

H.R. 985, the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017,” is currently before the House Judiciary Committee.  It would eviscerate class actions in many important ways.  In our letter to the Committee — joined by 37 other disability rights organizations — we explained how devastating it would be to cases that improve the lives of people with disabilities. The Honorable Bob Goodlatte Chairman Committee on the Judiciary U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. Ranking Member Committee on the Judiciary U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Re:  H.R. 985 – the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017. Dear Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers: The disability rights organizations, individuals with disabilities, and their family members who have signed below strongly oppose H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017. H.R. 985 would be devastating to the rights of people with disabilities.  By severely limiting attorneys’ fees in cases seeking only injunctive relief, it would remove class actions as an essential tool for those who seek to improve the systems that serve people with disabilities.  In the paradoxically-named “Class Member Benefit” provision, attorneys’ fees for injunctive cases – with no claim for damages — are limited to “a reasonable percentage of the value of the equitable relief, including any injunctive relief.”  How can one put a value, however, on the important gains achieved through these class action lawsuits?  Community living?  Effective communication?  Freedom from abusive conditions? And ultimately, without the ability to pay the rent, pay their staff, and make a modest living, what lawyers or organizations will...
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