Professor Brian T. Fitzpatrick Makes The Case For Class Actions
The Private Enforcement Role of Class Actions
The plaintiffs’ litigators at Evans Law Firm, Inc. know from experience that class actions lawsuits are often the only way ordinary citizens can be compensated for smaller economic injuries against large corporations. Groups of citizens who have suffered the same economic injury sharing in the fight for legal redress is more effective than numerous, smaller, individual cases. It is also more efficient for the justice system. This kind of expansive private enforcement role is why some conservatives favor the class action.
One such conservative, Vanderbilt Law School Professor Brian T. Fitzpatrick, sees the private enforcement role of class actions as a true benefit to the American economy in his book The Conservative Case for Class Actions. Class actions, he argues, achieve the same tangible benefits as other privatization measures when it comes to maintaining fair business practices in our economy. He identifies six specific benefits:
- Smaller government. Because class actions aggregate numerous “small” cases they enforce the law in those cases more efficiently and negate the need for multiple government agencies (and lawyers) to achieve the same result.
- Self-help. Citizens taking legal redress into their own hands is a good thing rather than the same citizens sitting back and expecting the government to seek the redress for them.
- Better incentives. Private lawyers are incentivized to achieve optimal results.
- Better resources. Class action lawyers typically have better resources and combined experience to litigate amalgamated cases than do numerous individual law firms tackling individual, smaller cases interstitially.
- Less bias. Class action plaintiffs and their counsel are independent of corporate bias. So is the court system that hears class action cases. Class actions thus serve as a check against the ability of industry to lobby in favor of regulation or deregulation of the conduct at issue.
- Less centralization. Class action cases present a more diverse, less centralized enforcement mechanism than regulatory agency present.
In total, Professor Fitzpatrick’s arguments provide strong justification for class actions in practical terms. He finds that class actions are more effective than government litigation in enforcing laws and recover more for economic injury than government actions do. Next week we will review the empirical evidence Prof. Fitzpatrick finds to back up his case for the effectiveness of class actions. Stay tuned!
Ingrid M. Evans and the other plaintiffs’ lawyers at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent plaintiffs in financial elder abuse cases, consumer fraud cases, cases where consumers are sold unsuitable insurance policies or investment products, and whistleblower and qui tam actions for fraud against agencies of the United States government or the State of California at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.