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2013-07-18

Smith's bill combats lawsuit abuse

Special to the Courier

Congressman Lamar Smith recently introduced legislation to reduce frivolous lawsuits that plague our legal system. The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act - H.R. 2655 - imposes mandatory sanctions on lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits in federal courts. The bill holds attorneys accountable for lawsuit abuse.
"Lawsuit abuse is common in America because the lawyers who bring these frivolous cases have everything to gain and nothing to lose. 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," Smith explained.
"The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act restores accountability to our legal system by imposing mandatory sanctions on attorneys who file worthless lawsuits. LARA encourages attorneys to think twice before filing frivolous lawsuits."
In summary, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act restores accountability to the legal system by penalizing lawyers for filing baseless, meritless and frivolous lawsuits. Specifically, the bill:
• Ensures that judges impose monetary sanctions against lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits, including the attorney's fees and costs incurred by the victim of the frivolous lawsuit.
· Reverses the 1993 amendments to Rule 11 that allow parties and their attorneys to avoid sanctions for making frivolous claims by withdrawing them within 21 days after a motion for sanctions has been served.
The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act is cosponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Rep. George Holding (R-NC) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
A copy of the House bill can be found at http://lamarsmith.house.gov/uploadedfiles/smittx_bill.pdf