The ability of the little guy to challenge corporations on a level playing field in court is being threatened in Minnesota. In a rare Saturday session, Republicans in the Minnesota Senate voted to severely limit consumers ability to sue corporations that may have caused harm through fraud or negligence. According to opponents, the Republican backed bill sets up “impossible hurdles” for consumers to join together in class action lawsuits against corporations.
Meeting in a rare Saturday session, Republicans in the Minnesota Senate voted today to strip consumers and small businesses of their ability to seek justice. State Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, said the legislation approved today takes away the ability of consumers to join together to take on big corporations, and tilts the legal playing field in favor of big special interests.
The bill, S.F. 149, sponsored by Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, aims to take away Minnesotans’ ability to join class-action lawsuits against corporations that have harmed consumers through fraud or negligence. The bill sets up impossible hurdles for consumers that seek to hold corporations accountable through a class-action suit, forcing each individual member joining the suit to go through the lengthy and complicated process of proving exact out-of-pocket loss in court before joining the suit.
“Class-action suits play a crucial role in protecting consumers by holding corporations accountable for fraudulent and negligent actions,” said Sen. Latz. “This bill creates an undue burden on the courts by forcing each victim to establish monetary loss in court, making it virtually impossible for consumers to seek justice and ultimately defeats the purpose of having consumer protection class action lawsuits in Minnesota.”
Sen. Latz said the bill is part of a nation-wide effort to weaken consumer rights, led by big insurance and big business special interests through the American Legislative
Exchange Council (ALEC). Minnesota’s legislators are introducing cookie-cutter bills written in D.C. and claiming them as their own.
“This bill makes it perfectly clear that Minnesota Republicans choose to protect big business and insurance companies rather than defend the rights of Minnesotans,” said Sen. Latz. “Republicans make the wrong choice. Across the country, we see Republican legislatures teaming up with big business and insurance companies to trample the rights of consumers. Even in Minnesota, this bill is just one of many Republican bills that will hurt consumers while protecting large corporate interests.”