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So-Called "Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act" Harms Plaintiffs That Have Legitimate Claims

WASHINGTON, DC -- September 13, 2004 -- The so-called "Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act," H.R. 4571, purports to reduce so-called "frivolous" law suits, but actually would discourage plaintiffs from bringing legitimate claims. The Judicial Conference of the United States, under the leadership of the Chief Justice has forcefully opposed this bill.

H.R. 4571 would ignore the current statutory rule making process, by-passing both the Judicial Conference of the United States and the United States Supreme Court. It would make plaintiff litigation unwieldy and time-consuming by amending Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to:

  • make sanctions under the Rule required, rather than discretionary;
  • delete a provision that gives a lawyer the opportunity to withdraw objectionable pleadings;
  • force state courts, in all civil proceedings, to conduct an inquiry to determine whether the case may affect interstate commerce; and
  • specify in which federal and state courts victims of personal injury may file their claims.

H.R. 4571 is another example of a misnamed piece of special interest legislation designed to deny ordinary consumers full access to the judicial system.

H.R. 4571 recently passed in the House of Representatives, and now goes to the Senate. Please telephone your senator as soon as possible and urge a NO vote on this bill. To find contact information for your senator, see the People Over Profits Action Network directory.

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