The American Law Institute sets an ambitious goal in Principles of the Law of Aggregate Litigation: “to identify techniques that promote the efficiency and efficacy of aggregate lawsuits as tools for enforcing valid laws.” The ALI identifies many techniques that promote that goal. But in focusing so singlemindedly on efficiency and efficacy, the ALI gives short shrift to external constraints that the law imposes on the class device.
While considerations of efficiency and efficacy may play a role at the margins, personal jurisdiction is not about the efficiency and efficacy of litigation. Rather, the law of personal jurisdiction imposes serious external constraints on the law of class actions to safeguard important legal values quite apart from the efficiency and efficacy of class litigation. The failure of the Principles to sympathetically explore external legal constraints—such as the law of personal jurisdiction—on class action law ill serves those who would rely on the Principles as a blueprint for class action reform.
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