On Feb. 18, President Bush signed into law the Class Action Fairness Act, the first step in a wide-reaching tort reform agenda. The legislation, passed by sizable majorities in both the House and Senate, would limit what supporters call law-suit abuse by removing certain class actions to federal court.

The insurance industry, which long has sought such a measure, responded with enthusiasm and relief. “Class action abuse is a major contributor to the $246 billion that our legal system costs consumers each and every year,” said Carl Parks, senior vice president, government affairs, for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

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