U.S. Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., along with U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., reintroduced the Arbitration Fairness Act March 7. The legislation, previously introduced in 2011 and 2015, would eliminate forced arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, civil rights and antitrust cases.
Various legislation has been introduced this Congress aimed at restructuring the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the largest of the nation’s 13 courts of appeals. The circuit’s judges contend a split would be harmful, while Democrats argue partisan politics is at the center of the push.
The U.S. Department of Labor said earlier this month it would move forward -- under the direction of President Donald Trump -- with its efforts to delay the April 10 applicability date of the new “conflicts of interest” rule. The department said under its proposal the applicability date of the rule and related exemptions would be extended to June 9.
The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency, or FACT, Act of 2017 and the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 have been merged. The legislation, along with the Innocent Party Protection Act of 2017 and the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017, will be voted on by the full House later this week, House officials confirmed.
If passed, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017, or H.R. 720, would change Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to remove the 21-day “safe harbor” and to make sanctions mandatory instead of discretionary if a violation is discovered. This would reverse amendments previously made to Rule 11.
Among the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017’s reforms, it requires that classes consist of members with the same type and scope of injury. Also under the proposed legislation, uninjured or non-comparably injured parties can still join class actions, but must do so separately from parties that experienced more extensive injury.
The legislation, introduced by U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina Friday, would provide for a two-year delay of the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule’s effective date. The rule mandates financial professionals who service individual retirement accounts, including IRAs and 401(k) plans, to serve the “best interest” of the savers and disclose conflicts of interest.
The federal lawmakers, in a letter sent to the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this month, urged the bureau to consider including a provision in the final rule that allows financial companies to retain class action waivers in their arbitration clauses. Under the CFPB’s current proposal, companies would be prohibited from putting mandatory arbitration clauses in new contracts.