House votes to strengthen sanctions against meritless suits

By a 229-174 vote, largely along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the proposed Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas); it now goes on to an uncertain future in the Senate. (see Point of Law Sept. 9, Aug. 17, Jun. 21; this site, Jun. 21). (Bloomberg, Reuters, AP). The bill would restore the stronger Rule 11 standards which used to entitle victims of meritless litigation in federal court to recompense in the form of sanctions: a previous Congress, following a major push by the litigation lobby, gutted Rule 11 in 1993. A source on Capitol Hill who is in a position to know suggests that we might want to provide a link to the House Judiciary Committee Report on today’s bill, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act. “The report compiles in one place a ton of information on the problem of lawsuit abuse, with many of the examples of frivolous lawsuits drawn from your Web site”. And indeed, a quick glance at several sections of the report suggests that we did serve as an important source of material, for which we’re grateful.


  • Rule 11 reform clears House

    As we’ve reported previously (Sept. 7, Aug. 17, Jun. 21), the House has been considering legislation that would revive tougher sanctions for Rule 11, which punishes attorneys who file frivolous claims. Yesterday, the House passed the measure 229-174. N…

  • Sanctions v. Loser-Pays: An Update from the House

    I’ve always preferred strong sanctions against the parties, and their lawyers, over the loser-pays system. More commentary and lots of links at Overlawyered.