Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1997421
 


 



The Agency Class Action


Michael D. Sant'Ambrogio


Michigan State University - College of Law

Adam S. Zimmerman


Loyola Law School Los Angeles

January 22, 2012

112 Colum. L. Rev. 1992 (2012)
MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-04
Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2014-15

Abstract:     
The number of claims languishing on administrative dockets has become a new “crisis” — producing significant backlogs, arbitrary outcomes and new barriers to justice. Coal miners, disabled employees, and wounded soldiers sit on endless waitlists to appeal the same kinds of administrative decisions that frequently result in reversal. Refugees seeking asylum from the same country play a dangerous game of “roulette” before arbitrary decisionmakers. Defrauded consumers and investors miss out on fair compensation, as agencies settle the same claims with wrongdoers without victim participation or meaningful judicial oversight.

Reformers have called for new resources, more administrative law judges and improved attorney fee arrangements. But surprisingly, commentators have largely ignored tools long used by courts to resolve common claims raised by large groups of people: the class action and other complex litigation procedures. Almost no administrative law process allows groups to aggregate and resolve common claims for relief. As a result, in a wide variety adjudicatory proceedings, administrative agencies routinely (1) waste resources on repetitive cases, (2) reach inconsistent decisions for the same kinds of claims, and (3) deny individuals access to the affordable representation that aggregate procedures otherwise promise. Moreover, procedural and substantive hurdles — including exhaustion of administrative remedies and judicial deference to agency expertise — often prevent federal courts from providing class-wide relief to parties in agency adjudications.

We argue that agencies themselves should adopt aggregation procedures, like those under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to adjudicate common claims raised by large groups of people. After surveying the current tools by which agencies could promote more efficiency, consistency and legal access — including rulemaking, stare decisis, attorneys fees and federal court class actions — we find agency class action rules more effectively resolve common disputes by: (1) efficiently creating ways to pool information about recurring problems and enjoin systemic harms; (2) achieving greater equality in outcomes than individual adjudication; and (3) securing legal and expert assistance at a critical stage in the process. In this way, The Agency Class Action represents a new kind of decision-making for administrative agencies — a blend of adjudication and rulemaking for large groups of people who similarly depend upon the administrative state for relief.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 76

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: February 2, 2012 ; Last revised: April 5, 2014

Suggested Citation

Sant'Ambrogio, Michael D. and Zimmerman, Adam S., The Agency Class Action (January 22, 2012). 112 Colum. L. Rev. 1992 (2012); MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-04; Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2014-15. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1997421 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1997421

Contact Information

Michael D. Sant'Ambrogio
Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )
318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States
Adam S. Zimmerman (Contact Author)
Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.lls.edu/aboutus/facultyadministration/faculty/facultylists-z/zimmermanadam/
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,398
Downloads: 297
Download Rank: 57,281
People who downloaded this paper also downloaded:
1. The Decline of Class Actions
By Robert Klonoff

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.359 seconds