Should Mississippi Have a Class-Action Rule? Your Comments are Invited

November 7, 2017 § 5 Comments

The MSSC has tasked the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Civil Rules to study whether Mississippi should adopt a procedural rule allowing class actions. The committee is expected to recommend whether or not to do so, and, if the answer is positive, to propose how such a rule would operate.

The impetus for the referral comes from a motion filed with the court by Attorney Richard T, “Flip” Phillips to adopt Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

To refresh your recollection, when the MRCP was adopted in 1982, Rule 23 was omitted. Up until then, equitable principles allowed consolidation of actions into something resembling class actions in chancery. The MRCP put an end to that, and some used Mississippi’s liberal joinder laws to fashion mass litigation that proved to be nightmarish in implementation. The MSSC and venue legislation put the kibosh on that, and so we are left with no tools for anything resembling class actions.

Both sides on the issue point out that Mississippi is the only state that does not have any form of state-court class action. Virginia allows class action in only extremely limited circumstances. All other states have rules allowing class actions.

The committee is gathering information and hopes to be in a position to make a recommendation by the spring of next year.

What do you think? Should Mississippi have a rule allowing class actions? Your comments are invited and will be shared with the advisory committee.

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§ 5 Responses to Should Mississippi Have a Class-Action Rule? Your Comments are Invited

  • Laura Caveness McElroy says:

    Yes. Prior to my mother’s death, a stop payment was put on her bank account to stop the monthly draft on her cell phone account with AT&T. Because of the stop payment, AT&T refused to accept a check for her land line account. The stop payment was removed from the account to make the land line account payments. AT&T then drafted the cell phone bill from her account over which a dispute was in process (cell). The Bank told me that AT&T does this all of the time. A $111.00 times thousands of clients adds up to a lot of money for AT&T. However, the expense of a small claim against AT&T is not justified in a law practice.

  • Larry says:

    My, my. Only two comments. Must not be any strong feelings one way or the other among chancery lawyers.

  • Winn Davis Brown, Jr. says:

    No. They generally provide no significant benefit to class members, and they stir up litigation and clog the courts.

  • Edwin Bean says:

    Yes

    • John H. (Zeke) Downey says:

      Class actions are much abused, but this is the fault of the judiciary and not of the form of action, i.e., the court approves a large fee while each member of the class gets a safety video or useless voucher to buy another vehicle from the defendant. Most of problems in the system would be solved if the lawyers and judges who work in it had some practical experience such as was common 50 or 100 years ago.

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