President signing measure limiting class-action Lawsuits

WHITE HOUSE(AP)_ President Bush is wasting no time in signing a bill limiting class-action lawsuits.

He is holding a White House ceremony to sign the bill, a day after the House finished congressional action on the measure, which would force most multi-state class-action suits into federal court.

Backers say it's unfair to let trial lawyers shop for sympathetic state and local courts in hopes of windfall judgments.

But consumer groups say the bill could hobble the most effective means available of punishing corporate wrongdoing. Washington state Congressman Jay Inslee calls it "the Vioxx protection bill."

The president argues "junk" lawsuits represent a huge tax on the U.S. economy. He's also called for caps on malpractice damage awards, and an end to the legal fight over asbestos.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.