Class action law suits abound, but what is their purpose, and who benefits? This independent look at class action practices discusses the history of such cases, the driving forces behind them, and the justice or protection that their settlement provides. A comprehensive picture of class action suits in the 1990s comes to life in 10 fascinating case studies that will make you question whether the plaintiff attorneys, the defendants, the consumers or the public were fairly served.
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This document summarizes the major findings and recommendations of our book-length study of class actions, Class Action Dilemmas: Pursuing Public Goals for Private Gain, a work that represents the product of more than three years' research into the current policy controversy over classaction lawsuits for money damages. In the interests of producing a summary that can be quickly read by policymakers and others, wefocus here on findings and recommendations that we believe will contribute most to ongoing discussions about how and whether Rule 23 and other rules relevant to class actions should be amended. Consequently, we have made only passing mention of some features of the complete manuscript. For example, in the course of the research, we conducted ten intensive case studies of recently settled class action lawsuits. Although the summary contains information derived from this portion of our research, it includes few details about the cases themselves. The full book contains a narrative of each of the case studies as well as a comparative analysis of them. Similarly, this summary makes only a few references to the cases, court documents, and other published materials that we consulted during our research, which are extensively documented in the book.For information about the Institute for Civil Justice, contactBeth Giddens, Communications DirectorInstitute for Civil JusticeRAND1700 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138Phone: (310) 393-0411 x7893Fax: (310) 451-6979E-mail: email@example.comWestlaw is the exclusive online distributor of RAND/ICJ materials.About the Author:
Deborah Hensler (Ph.D., Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), is a senior fellow and former director of the Rand Institute for Civil Justice. She presently serves as the Judge John W. Ford Professor in Dispute Resolution at Stanford University Law School. A member of the Institute's staff since its inception in 1979, her work on civil justice issues includes studies of class action suits, civil litigation trends, alternative disupte resolution, and mass torts. Nicholas M. Pace (J.D., School of Law, University of Oregon) is a resident consultant at Rand. Bonita DombeyMoore (M.S., Public Policy Analysis, University of Rochester) is a reseacher at the Rand Institute of Civil Justice. Bonnie spent a number of years at the Congressional Budget Office; as a principal analyst there, she assessed the costs and benefits of numerous government policies and programs. At Rand, she has analyzed federal policy on issues ranging from defense budgets to drug control and helped conduct Rand's own strategic planning process. Beth Giddens (Ph.D., English, University of Tennessee) is the communications director at the Rand Institute for Civil Justice. Before joining Rand in 1997, she was Associate Director for Communications for the Southern Regional Education Board, an education policy organization in Atlanta. Jennifer Gross (J.D., University of Southern California) is a doctoral fellow at the Rand Graduate School. Her studies focus on the use of law as a tool to deter undesirable behavior effectively. Jennifer has been a member of the class action research team and is currently conducting research on the use of appeals and grievances procedures in managed care. Erik Moller (J.D., Law, University of California, Los Angeles) is a doctoral fellow at the Rand Graduate School whose research interests include civil justice, alternative dispute resolution, and jury verdicts.
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