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Allen v. Wright and Donald T. Regan v. Inez Wright

Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits are suits allowing a large number of people with common complaints to sue together. Until 1938, monetary awards were not allowed. Class action suits have involved significant social issues such as public school desegregation and housing issues, as well as product liability and personal injury cases (torts).

In 1997, 1,475 class action suits were filed in federal courts. In the mid-1970s over 3,000 suits were being filed per year. By 1984, this number had declined to under one thousand per year by 1984. The number of suits increased during the 1990s. Class action suits comprised only 0.7 percent of total federal civil suits in the 1997, in contrast to 3.5 percent in 1975.

Between 1973 and 1997, over 39,000 class action suits were filed. Over 41 percent concerned civil rights issues, 8 percent with torts, 13 percent with securities (stocks and bonds), 9 percent with prisoner civil rights, and 6 percent or less with various other issues. However, there was a substantial decrease in the percentages of civil rights cases filed, from almost 56 percent of the class action suits in 1978 to 16 percent in 1997. Securities fell from 34 percent of the class action caseload in 1993 to 21 percent in 1997. Tort cases, however, rose from less than 4 percent in 1978 to over 21 percent in 1997.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Allen v. Wright and Donald T. Regan v. Inez Wright - Significance, Questions Of Standing, Impact, Related Cases, Class Action Lawsuits