Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2013 Proposed

congressIn early July of 2013, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) sponsored, with six other House Republicans, a bill known as the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2013.  The bill would amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure , requiring judges to impose monetary sanctions against attorneys who file what are deemed to be frivolous lawsuits.

Yesterday (9/11/2013), the bill was voted on by the House Judiciary Committee and passed by a vote of 17-10.

Lamar argued that his bill “…holds attorneys accountable for lawsuit abuse. …Lawyers can file meritless lawsuits, and defendants are faced with the choice of years of litigation, high court costs and attorneys’ fees or a settlement. This is legalized extortion. The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act restores accountability to our legal system by imposing mandatory sanctions on attorneys who file worthless lawsuits. “

At the July Judiciary Committee markup, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) disagreed with Smith, arguing that the bill would “…revive a rule that while in effect gave birth to an entire litigation industry operating in tandem with normal civil litigation. The revised rule 11 proposed here would take us back to the failed 1983 rule, which the Judicial Conference rightly rejected after a decade of catastrophic experience.”

H.R. 2655 now awaits action on the House floor.  Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) has co-sponsored an identical bill in the Senate, S. 1288, which has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

About Lisa Smith-Butler

Lisa is the Associate Dean for Information Services at the Charleston School of Law, Sol Blatt Jr. Law Library. She teaches Advanced Legal Research & Children & the Law.
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