Class Actions: The Need for a Hard Second Look
Publication Date: March 2002
Author(s): Richard A. Epstein
Keywords: class actions; legal reform
Coverage: United States
Class actions are an important procedural device for the amalgamation of individual claims. Used properly, they ensure access to the courts by individuals who would otherwise be denied redress for ordinary grievances. Used incorrectly, class actions become a club to coerce defendants into settling large stakes cases regardless of the merits. Professor Epstein suggests that we need to distinguish the useful from the improper use of class actions and then develop procedural and substantive safeguards in the courts based on this distinction.