Small business owners are lucky to have Sen. Mike Crapo looking after their interests in Washington. He’s led the way on reducing or eliminating Obama-era regulations like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ill-conceived ban on arbitration, a faster and more effective way to resolve disputes than litigation. He supports the Trump administration’s efforts to cut oppressive rules like Waters of the U.S., which would have extended the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to nearly every ditch and puddle in Idaho.
Now it’s time to move forward on the Fairness in Class Action Ligation Act, which would provide Idaho businesses with relief from mass lawsuits that cost them millions of dollars in legal fees but provide little for consumers, who are the supposed beneficiaries. FICALA passed in the House last March but has encountered fierce resistance in the Senate from trial lawyers who are the real winners under the current class-action system.
The law would prevent abusive practices like suing companies over purely speculative injuries and require courts to hold back plaintiff lawyers’ legal fees until their clients have been paid. These and other measures will make it easier to end frivolous suits before they become ruinously expensive and reduce the pressure on businesses to settle unmeritorious cases.
Sen. Crapo helped rein in the previously unaccountable CFPB last year, and his leadership is needed once again on class action reform. In their relentless search for deep pockets to sue, lawyers are dragging the smallest businesses into their net. FICALA is a sensible reform that balances the scales between providing justice to injured consumers and protecting small businesses against extortionate demands.
Tyler Hurst is a small business owner and the Idaho GOP 2nd Vice Chair.