Protecting the Right of Citizens to Aggregate Small Claims against Businesses

Two years ago I ranted against the Supreme Court’s subversion of the Rules Enabling Act and its opposition to the benign aims of the twentieth-century progressive law reformers expressed summarily in Rule 1 of our Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.1 I observed then that the majority of the Justices of the Supreme Court appeared to have joined the Chamber of Commerce, aligning themselves also with Vice President Dan Quayle’s 1989 Council on Competitiveness2 that denounced effective civil procedure as an enemy of economic development.3 I was then commenting adversely on what the Court had done to transform Rule 8.4 I renewed my accusation last year5 in South Carolina while commenting on the Court’s ruling protecting a manufacturer from the local enforcement of New Jersey tort law by shortening the reach of that state’s courts’ jurisdiction over the claim of a local plaintiff who sought compensation for an injury caused by the defendant’s negligent construction of a tool shipped to New Jersey with the help of its insolvent marketing distributor.6 Now, for the third time in two years, I find myself protesting the Court’s identification with the Quayle Commission and the Chamber of Commerce in its 2011 subversion of Rule 23(b) (3), which provides for the aggregation of small claims.7