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Dangerous Class Action Initiative Withdrawn from California Ballot

Anti-Class Action Initiative is Withdrawn from California Ballot

August 31, 2007 - The Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC), a coalition fronted by corporate giants, suddenly withdrew a dangerous anti-class action initiative from the California ballot, blaming uncertainty of the ballot passing the June 2008 election and bad timing for the hasty withdrawal.

"It does not appear that June is a good time to move forward on this," CJAC President John Sullivan told the media. "For us, there was the possibility that what we thought would be a quiet election could be an explosive one."

The initiative, titled the California Class Action Lawsuit Fairness Act, would have limited civil rights, worker and consumer protections by eliminating class action lawsuits in California. Most civil rights leaders would agree that supporters of the initiative are big businesses motivated by corporate greed. One of the most effective methods of enforcing corporate accountability and improving business practices are class action law suits. To eliminate class action law suits is to deny individuals the right to come together to sue large corporations for misconduct. An individual legal battle against a large corporation can be so expensive and difficult it is nearly impossible.

Ray Boucher, the President of Consumer Attorneys of America (CAOC), responded to the announcement that CJAC was withdrawing their initiative by saying, "We will continue to fight for the rights of Californians who need a voice in the civil justice system. We will continue to stand up to oil-, tobacco-, insurance-, pharmaceutical-, and HMO-backed CJAC and we will fight to protect consumers and employees against corporate fraud, dangerous products, and the pilfering of worker and investor profit sharing plans. We won't let Corporate America take away any more of our legal rights and we won't stand for its profit-over-people agenda."

The decision to pull the plug on the initiative came after the CAOC and various organizations fired back with counter initiatives in response to the oil, tobacco, and insurance-backed California ballot measure. The initiatives filed by the Consumer Attorneys of California include:

  • Class Action Reform and Corporate Accountability Act: This initiative would reform the class action law by requiring that consumers be notified in a more effective way if they are going to be involved in a lawsuit, by requiring that 25 percent of punitive damage awards be directed to support the state's enforcement of consumer laws, and authorizing stricter standards when it comes to the conduct of lawyers negotiating settlements.
  • Corporate Accountability Act: This initiative would take away any illegitimate pay and investment income from executives who are convicted of corporate fraud and use that money to support the Victims of Corporate Fraud Compensation Fund.
  • No Say No Pay Act: This initiative would require publicly traded companies to release information about the pay for top executives, allow stockholders in those companies to vote on compensation levels for top executives, and allow shareholders to file class action lawsuits against executives and board members if they approve of executive pay and benefits--or alter the pay--without shareholder approval.

Copies of the initiatives can be found at CAOC. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the initiatives. If you do not already have this software, you may download a free copy at the Adobe Acrobat web site.

Brayton Purcell Believes in Your Legal Rights

If you have a valid individual claim, Brayton Purcell will help you and give you the personal attention you need and deserve. If we determine that you may be part of a larger group of injured persons, we will discuss whether it makes sense to bring your case as a class action. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your legal options.

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