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house Bill H.R. 758

Do Federal Courts Need to be More Active Against Frivolous Lawsuits?

Argument in favor

Frivolous lawsuits cost the U.S. billions of dollars and diminish the public’s faith in the legal system. This bill deters meritless lawsuits from being filed in the first place.

Elinor's Opinion
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09/11/2015
The loser(s) in such cases should be required to pay all bills incurred by all parties involved. This is what occurs in other countries; and it prevents loss of time, energy, and taxpayers' money that are wasted on frivolous lawsuits and greedy attorneys.
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Chester's Opinion
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09/14/2015
Yes , everyone seem to have a lawsuit , the fed should weed out the frivolous ones
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Carol's Opinion
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09/15/2015
Any time people do stupid things and hurt themselves they look for someone to blame. Insurance companies settle because it is cheaper than going to court. My insurance agent told of one lawsuit where a man bought a brand new red Corvette. The neighbor boy threw a lighter on it and burned it up in the driveway. His parents then sued for his burn injuries and actually collected money on the theory of "attractive nuisance". Stop the madness!
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Argument opposed

The deterrents against frivolous lawsuits in this bill could lead to people not filing legitimate lawsuits for fear that they will face punishment if something goes wrong.

John's Opinion
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09/12/2015
Who gets to decide beforehand which suits are frivolous? Simply allowing the judge to declare a suit frivolous after the court case and forcing the loser to pay for all expenses and costs would reduce frivolous suits...
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Wendy's Opinion
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09/16/2015
Bite by bite the government is chewing away our rights, The First Amendment is very clear, we have the right to petition for redress of grievances. Tort reform is a bullshit red herring. Malpractice insurance companies are the entities that become wealthy by making it prohibitive for physicians and others, including attorneys, to purchase coverage. Shared risk pools are vastly superior to every form of insurance. (except medical, it should be a fundamental human right not a privilege)
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Alis's Opinion
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09/14/2015
The primary reason for my NO vote is that it was introduced by Lamar Smith, R-TX. Can anything good come out of Texas, especially from a reactionary Texan? I believe the idea is worthy of serious consideration & addresses a serious problem but I have no faith that there is any Republican legislator from Texas who is capable of presenting anything that the nation should take seriously! So HELL NO! until a smart person who doesn't hate the U.S. citizenry crafts a bill that makes sense & is helpful to ordinary citizens.
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What is House Bill H.R. 758?

This bill would reinstate punishments for attorneys, law firms, and parties involved in frivolous lawsuits filed in federal court. In general, a "frivolous" lawsuit is considered to have no basis in fact or existing law and has been filed simply to harass a defendant.

Specifically, it would restore sanctions covered by Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under current law, courts can, but are not required to, impose such sanctions intended to deter frivolous lawsuits.

If passed, this bill directs Judges to put monetary sanctions on lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits. These sanctions could include attorney’s fees and the costs incurred by the victim of the frivolous lawsuit. The court could also deal with the problem by dismissing the case or striking the pleadings.

This bill would also remove an amendment to Rule 11 that currently allows parties and their attorneys to avoid sanctions if they withdraw or correct their frivolous lawsuit within 21 days of filing.

Impact

Victims of frivolous lawsuits, attorneys and law firms that file frivolous lawsuits or parties to those lawsuits, and federal judges.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 758

$0.00
The CBO estimated that a previous version of this bill would have an insignificant impact on the federal budget.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) — the sponsor of this legislation — described the legal situation that his bill attempts to remedy like this: 

“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 out of court. This is legalized extortion.”

This bill was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on a vote of 19 to 13. A similar version passed in the House in November 2013 by a margin of 228 to 195, but didn’t see a vote in the Senate.

The previous version of this legislation was opposed by Democrats — only three of whom voted for the bill — including Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who said it would:

“Turn back the clock to a time when federal rules of civil procedure discouraged civil rights cases, limited judicial discretion, and permitted satellite litigation to run wild.”

Of Note: According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform, lawsuits cost the U.S. economy about $264 billion each year. That comes to about $850 per person. As a percentage of a country’s economy, the annual legal liability in the U.S. is twice the rate of the UK, three times higher than France’s rate, and five times higher than Japan’s.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Beinecke Library)

AKA

Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2015

Official Title

To amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to improve attorney accountability, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed September 17th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 241 Yea / 185 Nay
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedFebruary 5th, 2015

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    The loser(s) in such cases should be required to pay all bills incurred by all parties involved. This is what occurs in other countries; and it prevents loss of time, energy, and taxpayers' money that are wasted on frivolous lawsuits and greedy attorneys.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    Who gets to decide beforehand which suits are frivolous? Simply allowing the judge to declare a suit frivolous after the court case and forcing the loser to pay for all expenses and costs would reduce frivolous suits...
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes , everyone seem to have a lawsuit , the fed should weed out the frivolous ones
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    Any time people do stupid things and hurt themselves they look for someone to blame. Insurance companies settle because it is cheaper than going to court. My insurance agent told of one lawsuit where a man bought a brand new red Corvette. The neighbor boy threw a lighter on it and burned it up in the driveway. His parents then sued for his burn injuries and actually collected money on the theory of "attractive nuisance". Stop the madness!
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    The primary reason for my NO vote is that it was introduced by Lamar Smith, R-TX. Can anything good come out of Texas, especially from a reactionary Texan? I believe the idea is worthy of serious consideration & addresses a serious problem but I have no faith that there is any Republican legislator from Texas who is capable of presenting anything that the nation should take seriously! So HELL NO! until a smart person who doesn't hate the U.S. citizenry crafts a bill that makes sense & is helpful to ordinary citizens.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Bite by bite the government is chewing away our rights, The First Amendment is very clear, we have the right to petition for redress of grievances. Tort reform is a bullshit red herring. Malpractice insurance companies are the entities that become wealthy by making it prohibitive for physicians and others, including attorneys, to purchase coverage. Shared risk pools are vastly superior to every form of insurance. (except medical, it should be a fundamental human right not a privilege)
    Like (4)
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    Not just merit less get rid of suits such as spilt hot coffee or idiots holding a lawn mower up to cut the hedges
    Like (3)
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    FRIVOLOUS: adj. referring to a legal move in a lawsuit clearly intended merely to harass, delay, or embarrass the opposition. Frivolous acts can include filing the lawsuit itself, a baseless motion for a legal ruling, an answer of a defendant to a complaint which does not deny, contest, prove, or controvert anything, or an appeal which contains not a single arguable basis (by any stretch of the imagination) for the appeal. A frivolous lawsuit, motion or appeal can result in a successful claim by the other party for payment by the frivolous suer of their attorneys fees for defending the case. Judges are reluctant to find an action frivolous, based on the desire not to discourage people from using the courts to resolve disputes. Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved. IMHO, people are far too apt to resort to suing others! When someone spills hot coffee on him/herself and suffers a burn, IT IS FRIVOLOUS TO SUE THE BUSINESS THAT SOLD THE COFFEE! Good grief, how stupid and greedy and irresponsible can you get! Way too much of this sort of thing goes on, and it is why our insurance, medical, and other costs are so high!
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    Why did the federal court hear the NFL Brady case? Show me a federal law that was violated. The courts in this country are out of control.
    Like (2)
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    Our litigious nature is destroying society.
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    There should be a better vetting system for law suits. Evidence and claims should be vetted to determine if it's warranted for it to go further into litigation. And cases should be decided once they get to trial rapidly.
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    Absolutely
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    Lawsuits cost someone somewhere down the line. Ridiculous.
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    Waste of time on a already back logged judicial system. Cost the U.S., too much time and tax payer's money.
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    there are too many of them something must be done
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    There should be a review board like a grand jury who decide if a law suit is valid and should go to trial. In this way people can still sue without fear of financial loss.
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    There are real suits. I do want the suit to penalize the lawyer equally, and if a lawyer brings three suits he or she cannot be lead council on a suit for some number of years also. If the person has less that a bachelor's degree, I think the lawyer should bear the full brunt.
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    The reality is that we are going to have too many frivolous lawsuits or not enough legitimate lawsuits. It's a hard Balance to strike. But I do think there's too many people filing lawsuits taking advantage of people, and it diminishes the faith in our legal system, we need to cut down on the pointless lawsuits.
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    YEA. Also local and State courts with fines for rejected cases.
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    Though I think it should be amended to better define what a frivolous lawsuit is. Just because it regards something not on the books, doesn't make it frivolous, and anyone can claim a lawsuit to harassment.
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