Bill Text - HB1720 (2012)

(New Title) relative to jury trials in class actions brought under the consumer protection act.

Revision: March 12, 2012, midnight


8Mar2012… 0922h





AN ACT relative to jury trials in class actions brought under the consumer protection act.

SPONSORS: Rep. Lambert, Hills 27; Rep. Chandler, Carr 1

COMMITTEE: Judiciary


This bill establishes a right to jury trial for claims brought under the consumer protection act.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

8Mar2012… 0922h




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT relative to jury trials in class actions brought under the consumer protection act.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Consumer Protection Act; Class Actions. Amend RSA 358-A:10-a, I to read as follows:

I. Persons entitled to bring an action under RSA 358-A:10 may, if the unlawful act or practice has caused similar injury to numerous other persons, institute an action as representative or representatives of a class of persons who are residents of this state or whose cause of action arose within this state against one or more defendants as individuals or as representatives of a class or against one or more such defendants having a principal place of business within this state, and the petition shall allege such facts as will show that these persons or the named defendants specifically named and served with process have been fairly chosen and adequately and fairly represent the whole class, to recover [actual] damages as provided for in RSA 358-A:10. The court may require the plaintiff to prove such allegations, unless all of the members of the class have entered their appearance, and the court may also determine that it shall not be sufficient to prove such facts by the admissions of the defendants who have entered their appearance. In any action brought under this section, the court may order, in addition to actual damages, injunctive or other equitable relief and reasonable attorney's fees.

2 Consumer Protection Act; Qualifications of Class Action. Amend RSA 358-A:10-a, II(e)(3) to read as follows:

(3) The court finds that the questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy. The matters pertinent to the findings include: the interest of members of the class in individually controlling the prosecution or defense of separate actions; the extent and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already commenced by or against members of the class; the desirability or undesirability of concentrating the litigation of the claims in the particular forum; and the difficulties likely to be encountered in the management of a class action[.]; and

(f) The attorney for the representative parties will adequately represent the interests of the class.

3 New Paragraph; Consumer Protection Act; Class Actions; Jury Trial. Amend RSA 358-A:10-a by inserting after paragraph X the following new paragraph:

XI. In any action brought in the superior court pursuant to this section, except those in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $50,000, the parties have a right to a trial by jury. For the purposes of this section, the separate claims of the proposed members of the class may be aggregated to meet the minimum amount in controversy required.

4 Applicability. This act shall apply only to actions brought on or after January 1, 2013.

5 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2013.





AN ACT relative to jury trials under the consumer protection act.


      The Judicial Branch states this bill may increase state general fund expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2013 and each year thereafter. There is no fiscal impact on county and local expenditures, or state, county and local revenue.


    The Judicial Branch states this bill will provide the right to a jury trial in consumer protection act cases. The Branch estimates there are 10 consumer protection cases filed each year in the Superior Court, however the Branch has no information to determine how many of those cases go to trial currently or on how many would opt for a jury trial based on this bill. The Branch states the average daily cost of a jury trial in the Superior Court in FY 2013 is $1,812.99. The daily jury trial cost is based on a seven and one-half hour day and costs related to a judge’s time, court monitor’s time, deputy clerk’s time, bailiff’s time, and jury costs, including jury mileage. Adding the cost of preliminary hearings, time to write a charge to the jury, and for clerical processing related to the jury would increase the cost of a jury trial to be in excess of $2,000 per day. Additional costs would be incurred if a decision is appealed.