S.1501 - Protecting Class Action Plaintiffs Act of 1995104th Congress (1995-1996)
|Sponsor:||Sen. Cohen, William S. [R-ME] (Introduced 12/22/1995)|
|Committees:||Senate - Judiciary|
|Latest Action:||Senate - 12/22/1995 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Judiciary. (All Actions)|
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Text: S.1501 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)
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Introduced in Senate (12/22/1995)
[Congressional Bills 104th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [S. 1501 Introduced in Senate (IS)] 104th CONGRESS 1st Session S. 1501 To amend part V of title 28, United States Code, to require that the Department of Justice and State attorneys general are provided notice of a class action certification or settlement, and for other purposes. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES December 22, 1995 Mr. Cohen (for himself and Mr. Nunn) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To amend part V of title 28, United States Code, to require that the Department of Justice and State attorneys general are provided notice of a class action certification or settlement, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Protecting Class Action Plaintiffs Act of 1995''. SEC. 2. NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENT OF CLASS ACTION CERTIFICATION OR SETTLEMENT. (a) In General.--Part V of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 113 the following new chapter: ``CHAPTER 114--CLASS ACTIONS ``Sec. ``1711. Notification of class action certifications and settlements. ``Sec. 1711. Notification of class action certifications and settlements ``(a) For purposes of this section, the term-- ``(1) `class' means a group of similarly situated individuals, defined by a class certification order, that comprise a party in a class action lawsuit; ``(2) `class action' means a lawsuit filed pursuant to rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or similar State rules of procedure authorizing a lawsuit to be brought by 1 or more representative individuals on behalf of a class; ``(3) `class certification order' means an order issued by a court approving the treatment of a lawsuit as a class action; ``(4) `class member' means a person that falls within the definition of the class; ``(5) `class counsel' means the attorneys representing the class in a class action; ``(6) `electronic legal databases' means computer services available to subscribers containing text of judicial opinions and other legal materials, such as LEXIS or WESTLAW; ``(7) `official court reporter' means a publicly available compilation of published judicial opinions; ``(8) `plaintiff class action' means a class action in which the plaintiff is a class; and ``(9) `proposed settlement' means a settlement agreement between the parties in a class action that is subject to court approval before it becomes binding on the parties. ``(b) This section shall apply to-- ``(1) all plaintiff class actions filed in Federal court; and ``(2) all plaintiff class actions filed in State court in which-- ``(A) any class member resides outside the State in which the action is filed; and ``(B) the transaction or occurrence that gave rise to the lawsuit occurred in more than one State. ``(c) No later than 10 days after a proposed settlement in a class action is filed in court, class counsel shall serve the State attorney general of each State in which a class member resides and the Department of Justice as if they were parties in the class action with-- ``(1) a copy of the complaint and any materials filed with the complaint; ``(2) notice of any scheduled judicial hearing in the class action; ``(3) any proposed or final notification to class members of-- ``(A) their rights to request exclusion from the class action; and ``(B) a proposed settlement of a class action; ``(4) any proposed or final class action settlement; ``(5) any settlement or other agreement contemporaneously made between class counsel and counsel for the defendants; ``(6) any final judgment or notice of dismissal; and ``(7) any written judicial opinion relating to the materials described under paragraphs (3) through (6). ``(d) A hearing to consider final approval of a proposed settlement may not be held earlier than 120 days after the date on which the State attorney generals and the Department of Justice are served notice under subsection (c). ``(e) A class member may refuse to comply with and may choose not be bound by a settlement agreement or consent decree in a class action lawsuit if the class member resides in a State where the State attorney general has not been provided notice and materials under subsection (c). The rights created by this subsection shall apply only to class members or any person acting on their behalf. ``(f) Any court order certifying a class, approving a proposed settlement in a class action, or entering a consent decree in a class action, and any written opinions concerning such court orders and decrees, shall be made available for publication in official court reporters and electronic legal databases. ``(g) Any court with jurisdiction over a plaintiff class action shall require that-- ``(1) any written notice provided to the class through the mail or publication in printed media contain a short summary written in plain, easily understood language, describing-- ``(A) the subject matter of the class action; ``(B) the legal consequences of joining the class action; ``(C) if the notice is informing class members of a proposed settlement agreement-- ``(i) the benefits that will accrue to the class due to the settlement; ``(ii) the rights that class members will lose or waive through the settlement; ``(iii) obligations that will be imposed on the defendants by the settlement; ``(iv) a good faith estimate of the dollar amount of any attorney's fee if possible; and ``(v) an explanation of how any attorney's fee will be calculated and funded; and ``(D) any other material matter; and ``(2) any notice provided through television or radio to inform the class of its rights to be excluded from a class action or a proposed settlement shall, in plain, easily understood language-- ``(A) describe the individuals that may potentially become class members in the class action; and ``(B) explain that the failure of individuals falling within the definition of the class to exercise their right to be excluded from a class action will result in the individual's inclusion in the class action. ``(h) Compliance with this section shall not immunize any party from any legal action under Federal or State law, including actions for malpractice or fraud.''. (b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--The table of chapters for part V of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 113 the following: ``114. Class Actions........................................ 1711''. SEC. 3. APPLICABILITY. This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall apply to all class action lawsuits filed after or pending on the date of enactment of this Act. <all>