How Bill H.R. 985 Will Hurt Your Right to Justice

When corporations hurt people – either through negligence, recklessness, or intentional disregard of risk – they need to be held accountable.

But if Congress has its way with a bill currently in the Senate, your right to seek justice through the legal system could be irreparably harmed.

The bill is called H.R. 985, and it’s designed to weaken your right to obtain justice and the compensation you deserve by taking Big Business to court and winning a fair and just settlement or verdict.


Because taking on big business can be expensive or the harm to anyone individual is comparably small, the only way you and other citizens like you who have been harmed by Big Business can get justice and compensation is to band together and take the responsible parties to court. As anyone knows, many are stronger than the few, or even the one. These corporations – and the Big Insurance companies who back them – are larger and stronger than anyone citizen. It takes a dedicated group of determined citizens to fight.

And H.R. 985 will hurt your ability to fight.

What the bill does is make it much more difficult to attack Big Business through class action and mass action lawsuits. These lawsuits involve people who have been wronged coming together and joining forces to hold these corporations accountable. Under H.R. 985, if it’s passed, suddenly there will be even more legal hoops to jump through, and more obstacles in your way – and the chances of having a successful outcome are extremely diminished.

If class and mass actions are limited by H.R. 985, corporations will be free to harm thousands of people so long as the dollar value of the harm is cost-prohibitive for an individual to seek justice on his or her own. For example, corporations could tack on unlawful fees to your phone of cable bill. Without class or mass actions, a lawsuit is cost prohibitive for an individual to seek redress. The filing fee alone is $400. Or if a drug or medical device manufacturer causes harm to tens of thousands of people, as long as the cost of hiring lawyers, engineers and medical experts to prove the case (which can run into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars) exceeds the damage to any one individual, U.S. citizens will be left without a viable option to seek justice. This bill is not about frivolous lawsuits. This bill is about taking away your right to seek justice in the American civil justice system and putting big corporate interests ahead of the rights of ordinary citizens.


The bill is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee. You can see a list of the committee members here. The only way to stop this bill is to tell your senators how you feel. Contact your senators and tell them, “This bill hurts American citizens and is just a handout to Big Business. Vote ‘No’ and take a stand for the people.”

Start by finding the contact information for your senator by going to this website and looking them up by state. Then, take that contact information and put it to work. Call and email your senators and tell them to keep this anti-citizen bill from passing. Don’t write letters and mail them; by the time they get there, the bill could’ve already been put to a vote. H.R. 985 is great for Big Business but bad for the average American citizen. Stand up for your rights and tell your representatives that H.R. 985 doesn’t represent you – it represents corporations who just want to make more money at all costs.


Check out this article from the Center for American Progress on why H.R. 985 harms civil rights and only helps Big Business.

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