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Series

Columbia Law School

Columbia Law Review

1995

Torts

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Class Wars: The Dilemma Of The Mass Tort Class Action, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 1995

Class Wars: The Dilemma Of The Mass Tort Class Action, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Legal change – like organic evolution – can occur at varying paces. Long periods of gradual evolution are sometimes punctuated by brief moments of rapid, irregular change. Recent developments in class action practice bear witness to this phenomenon: during the 1990s, evolution has given way to mutation. At least with respect to mass torts, the development of the class action had been slow and halting. Well into the 1980s, federal courts uniformly resisted attempts to certify such mass tort class actions, largely out of concern that the interests of the individual litigant would be submerged within any large-scale proceeding. By the end ...