Article   |   Volume 156, Issue 6

CAFA's Impact on Class Action Lawyers

Howard M. Erichson

June 2008

Procedural reforms alter litigation options directly, but they alter the litigation landscape in more ways than reformers anticipate. Three years ago, Congress dramatically expanded federal jurisdiction with the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), a statute drafted with no love for class action plaintiffs’ lawyers. Those lawyers have adapted to the statute, in part, by altering their forum-selection and claim-selection strategies. Analysis of these adaptations offers an emerging picture of the statute’s impact on class actions and class action lawyers. CAFA’s impact on the class action bar deserves particular attention because, although the statute speaks the language of subject matter jurisdiction, its message of mistrust was aimed squarely at the lawyers.

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