The Law: Class-Action Chill

For some time Lake Champlain had been filling up with sludge, apparently from an International Paper Co. factory at Ticonderoga, N.Y. Finally, in 1971, H. Keith Zahn went to federal court and sued the New York pulpmaker on behalf of himself and some 200 others who owned Vermont land fronting on the lake. Alleging $40 million in overall damages because of the pollution, Zahn was relying on the newly popular tactic of the class action, which allows a large group with a common complaint to join together in one suit. Last week the Supreme...

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