We are pleased to present the Spring 2001 issue of Class Action Watch. A number of class action lawsuits have been filed in the last few months against many of America’s corporate giants including General Motors, Nissan, Ford, Coca Cola, eBay and Bridgestone/Firestone. In Engle v. R.J. Reynolds, a Florida trial court granted a record punitive award to plaintiffs of the tobacco industry. Meanwhile, the state of Alabama has taken steps to reform its class action jurisprudence, and Powers v. Eichen set standards that judges must follow when awarding attorney’s fees in class action suits in the Ninth Circuit. In light of these and other recent class actions, as well as current proposals for legislative and jurisprudential reform our latest issue of Class Action Watch comes at an opportune time.

The debates concerning the future of class actions on Capitol Hill and elsewhere demand accurate information. We remain committed to providing such information concerning the changing nature of class action litigation and reporting recent developments in the field.

The Spring 2001 issue reports the complete results of our Class Actions Opinions survey. Attorneys from both the plaintiff and defense sides of class actions responded with their opinions on issues such as attorney fees, the impact of class certification, the incidence of state court class action filings, Rule 23 standards and the appropriate scope of settlement class actions. This issue concludes with an extensive report on recent developments in class action law.

We hope this material will prove helpful to litigators, judges, and those involved in legislative debates over the future of class actions. We also hope that this issue will prompt others to try to collect and disseminate additional data concerning the changing nature of class actions. We encourage any comments or suggestions you may have to improve the publication so that future issues can provide even more useful information.