Barbara J. Hart featured as a Commentator in The Law and Economics of Class Actions

Barbara J. Hart, the Chair of the New York State Bar Association, Antitrust Section, Executive Committee, featured as a commentator in The Law and Economics of Class Actions, Vol. 26, Research in Law and Economics (James A. Langenfeld ed., 2014).

The book, a compendium of practitioners’ and economists’ analyses, features an article on “Class Action Landscape: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”  The article distills views shared at a conference where leading attorneys and economists discussed the changing landscape of class action law and its interaction with the economic analysis of key issues.

Ms. Hart, Lowey Dannenberg's Chief Operating Officer, was featured responding to the defense bar’s characterization of the U.S. class action system as “wasteful, unmeritorious over-litigation that E.U. lawmakers expressly wish to avoid.”  A glimpse of Ms. Hart’s rebuttal states:

[Hart] believes that aversion to the U.S. system is born of false belief that the state of class actions has not evolved beyond its inception and the incidental abuses for which it is pilloried.  ….  The old practice of simple oral argument and bare bone economic analysis for class certification are being supplanted by full or multiday evidentiary hearings and detailed economic analyses based on the facts of the case.  ….  Hart sees class actions as the best and ever improving model to address large-scale legal matters.  Courts and practitioners can and do engage in large-scale problem solving, taking care to derive the best possible solution.  As such, she sees the state of class action practice in the U.S. as worthy, sophisticated, and remedial.  Hart believes the U.S. class action provides the best model because it is constantly criticized, and thereby sharpened and improved.  She argues that opt-in and government-sponsored victim redress funds cannot, have not, and will not succeed to the same measure as U.S. class actions.  As other jurisdictions embark on the alternatives, she believes we will all learn from their experiments in mass problem solving and should increasingly appreciate the U.S. system.

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