Congress Called Upon to Fight Frivolous Lawsuits

     SAN ANTONIO (CN) – A Texas congressman introduced a bill that would punish attorneys who practice “legalized extortion” by filing frivolous federal lawsuits.
     Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, filed H.R. 2655 on July 11. If passed, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act would repeal amendments to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that were entered in 1993.
     The changes have allowed attorneys and their clients to avoid sanctions for filing frivolous claims by withdrawing the claims within 21 days after their targets sought sanctions.
     Smith’s bill would give federal judges the power to impose mandatory sanctions, including attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by the opposing party.
     “The court may also impose additional appropriate sanctions, such as striking the pleadings, dismissing the suit, or other directives of a non-monetary nature, or, if warranted, for effective deterrence, an order directing payment of a penalty to the court,” the bill states.
     Frivolous lawsuits have become commonplace because lawyers who bring them have everything to gain and nothing to lose, Lamar said.
     “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,” he said in a statement. “This is legalized extortion … LARA encourages attorneys to think twice before filing frivolous lawsuits.”

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