Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Line 10 on the first page, strike ``and scope''.
Line 8 on the first page, strike ``or economic loss''.
The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 581, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Johnson) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman.
Mr. COHEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of my amendment, which was made in order, and which would make an exception to H.R. 1927's required showing for class certification for any claims brought by the victims of a terrorist attack against the attack's perpetrators.
We all agree that victims of terrorist attacks deserve justice, and they should have the fullest opportunity to obtain compensation for any injuries they have suffered because of such attacks.
Sadly, our history over the last generation has no shortage of examples of the kind of victims this amendment would help. From the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, to the downing of Pan Am 103 by Qadhafi's Libya, recourse to our courts has been one of the few ways that victims of terrorism have been given at least some opportunity to seek justice for the acts committed against their family members and them.
I know Chairman Goodlatte shares my concerns for these victims, and I applaud him for his successful efforts to create a compensation fund for those victims of state sponsors of terrorism who receive final court judgements against those state sponsors.
The program also compensates those held hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1979.
In some of these cases, the victims, or their survivors, pursued class actions against the state sponsors of the terrorist act. Yet, under section 2 of H.R. 1927, these victims may not have had the opportunity to pursue a class action in the first place.
As noted during the general debate, section 2 adds the new requirement that a named plaintiff prove, as a condition of class certification, that every putative class member suffered the same ``scope'' of injury; not comparable, but the same scope.
This requirement can be read to preclude a class action where, for instance, one terrorism victim loses his legs, while another loses his arms as a result of some terrorist attack. Or maybe somebody isn't a direct victim of the terrorist attack, but hurt in the aftermath of the attack. In short, they did not suffer the same scope of injury.
I note that ``scope'' can mean the same thing as ``extent,'' as the bill introduced originally stated. Current rules, while requiring commonality of facts and law, does not require a showing of commonality in damages as a prerequisite for certifying a class action, as this ``scope of injury'' standard requires.
It is rare that two class members suffer the exact same scope of injury, and almost impossible to prove this at the certification stage.
Think about Boston. Some people lost a leg, some people lost a life, some people lost both legs. They couldn't be part of a class. The relevant inquiry is whether they allegedly both suffered injury as a result of the same alleged wrongful act by the defendant.
It is hard enough as it is to pursue class actions because of years of efforts by industry to make it more and more difficult. Sometimes, in these terrorist situations, it is a different type of defendant.
It is wrong to place the heightened burdens of H.R. 1927 on terrorism victims who seek justice for the acts committed against them. I would ask that this amendment be accepted by the other side because all it does is make exception for victims of terrorism, and we all share in our hope that victims of terror get justice and that we don't put any more hurdles in the way of them successfully completing the track of seeking justice for them and their heirs, ancestors who might have been killed in
My amendment would offer them relief of these burdens, and I would hope the other side would accept it.
I yield back the balance of my time.