Cal. Litig. 2014, Volume 27, Number 3

A New Aggregate Litigation Model Emerges – Technology-Driven Mass Actions

By Ray E. Gallo

Today’s technology automates client screening, interviewing, signing, and communications, among other things, enabling the cost-effective mass litigation of smaller cases than ever before.

Plaintiffs’ class action work never has been an easy game, or one for the faint-hearted. But the last few years have brought new impediments to those seeking mass justice. Decisions by the United States Supreme Court have tightened class certification requirements and made it harder to challenge arbitration agreements. (See, e.g., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (2011) 131 S.Ct. 2541; AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 131 S.Ct. 1740.) To those who think wrongs deserve remedies, and that mass wrongs deserve remedies at least as much as one-offs, these decisions are signs of bad times. Like Proposition 64, which narrowed the application of California’s Unfair Competition Law, these rulings impede efforts to hold businesses accountable for wrongs they commit, even where injustice inarguably results. There were always wrongs with no remedy. Now there are more.

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