From Michigan Lawyers Weekly A bill awaiting action in the U.S. Senate could bring several changes to class action lawsuits nationwide. The "Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017" was introduced Feb. 9 by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R Virginia, and it passed the U.S. House of Representatives March 9 by a 220 -201 vote. A summary of the bill on the official Congress website highlights three key changes that would impact class action litigation. The top change listed states that in a class action seeking monetary relief for personal injury or economic loss, each proposed class member suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representatives. The bill states that it aims to limit attorneys' fees to a reasonable percentage of any payments received by class members and the value of any equitable relief. It also states that no attorneys' fees based on monetary relief may be paid until distribution of the monetary recovery to class members has been completed, or exceed the total amount distributed to and received by all class members. Plaintiffs' concerns Michael L. Pitt, managing partner of Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers in Royal Oak, has worked on many class action suits from the plaintiff's side. Pitt has expressed numerous concerns about the bill and its potential impact on future class action litigation. "The changes are significant and they really would have the effect of cutting out class action as an effective method of seeking redress for many sectors of our society where claims for personal injury or property damage are asserted," Pitt said. Pitt has been working on the Flint water case, and pointed to it as an example of individuals in a class action lawsuit who have suffered different injuries. "We have people in the same household who are class members, children who have been exposed to lead in the water have suffered serious damage as a result of lead poisoning. We have adults who have developed neurological disorders. You have a mom and dad who own the house, their property value has plummeted, you have property damage, the corrosive water has damaged interior plumbing and in some cases, exterior service lines, those need to be replaced," Pitt said. "This hypothetical family would not be able to participate in the same class action because they don't have the same type and scope of injury." Pitt said that the bill would result in a decreased desire to pursue class action because of the increase in delays sparked by the new legislation. "What I see here is the amount of delay that's built into class action litigation will frustrate many plaintiffs' lawyers and many plaintiffs in pursuing class actions because any time there's a ruling the defendants don't like, they have a way to stay the proceeding and drag it out endlessly," Pitt said. You can read the entire Michigan Lawyers Weekly article here.
Bridge Michigan published an op-ed authored by Michael Pitt which urges Gov. Whitmer to appoint an independent task force to investigate the failure of the Edenville Dam: Read full article here.
TIME -- "States Automated Systems are Trapping Citizens in Bureaucratic Nightmares with Lives on the Line"
Jennifer Lord was quoted in a TIME magazine feature-length investigative report on the harms inflicted by AI-based decision-making systems utilized to manage government public health and benefits programs. The article includes an account of the...
WEYI/NBC/Mid-Michigan -- "Federal Court Rules Former Gov. Rick Snyder Remains as a Defendant in Flint Residents' Lawsuit"
Co-counsel Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in a WEYI/NBC report on a recent federal appeals court decision upholding a lower court ruling that former Gov. Snyder and other state administrators be reinstated as defendants in the Flint Water...
Michael Pitt was cited in a Detroit News report on a state-conducted investigation into the Edenville Dam failure announced by Gov. Whitmer: Read full article here.
The Midland Daily News referenced the lawsuit filed by firm attorneys in the Michigan Court of Claims, including citation of passages from the complaint: Read full article here.
Michigan Radio/NPR -- "Midland County Residents File Lawsuit Against State, Alleging Negligent Dam Management"
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Michigan Radio/NPR report on the Court of Claims suit filed by the firm regarding failure of the Edenville Dam: Read full article here.
Hometownlife.com/Observer & Eccentric -- "Lawsuit: Canton Apartment Owners Evicted Tenants in Addiction Recovery Program"
Hometownlife.com/Observer & Eccentric published a report on a federal housing discrimination case brought against an apartment complex which evicted recovering substance abusers participating in a residential rehab program. Robin Wagner and...
WDIV/NBC reported on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims filing: Read full article here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in a report from Newsradio WSGW/Midland on the Court of Claims complaint filed regarding the failure of the Edenville Dam: Read the full article here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in WILX/CBS coverage of the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims filing: Read the full article here.
WDIV/NBC reported on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims filing: Read the full article here.
M. Pitt was quoted in a WNEM/CBS report on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims case: Read full article here.
FOX 2 News -- "Mid-Michigan Homeowners Sue State Over Edenville Dam Break, Allege Neglect, Mismanagement"
Michael Pitt was quoted in a FOX 2 News report on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims case: Read the full article here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Detroit Free Press story on the Court of Claims lawsuit filed by Edenville residents against the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy regarding the failure of the Edenville Dam and subsequent...
Bloomberg Law cited Pitt McGehee Palmer Bonanni & Rivers as attorneys of record in it posted report on the preliminary injunction granted in the Oakland County Jail class action: Read full article here.
Afro.com -- "First Federal Court Win Ordering Release of Medically-Vulnerable People In Our County Jails"
Cary McGehee was quoted by Afro.com in a posted report on the preliminary injunction granted in the Oakland County Jail COVID-19 class action: Read full article here.
Cary McGehee was quoted in Oakland Press coverage of a favorable ruling for the plaintiffs handed-down in the Oakland County Jail class action: Read full article here.
Detroit News -- "Judge Orders Oakland County Jail to Submit List of Inmates for Release Consideration"
Cary McGehee was quoted in a report published by Detroit News regarding a ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in the Oakland County Jail class action: Read full article here.
The Appeal -- "Lawsuit Seeks the Release of 'Medically Vulnerable' People at Oakland County Jail in Michigan"
Kevin Carlson and Cary McGehee were cited in a report posted in The Appeal (vertical news outlet focusing primarily on the criminal justice system) regarding the problematic conditions at Oakland County Jail due to COVID-19 and the related class...
Cary McGehee was quoted in a Detroit News report on actions taken by Oakland County Jail in response to a federal lawsuit filed by prisoners alleging the facility has not adequately protected them from the transmission of the coronavirus: Read...