Canadian Underwriter

U.S. House introduces new tort reform bill

January 26, 2005   by Canadian Underwriter

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A new bill aimed at reducing frivolous lawsuits has been introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Texas Congressman Lamar Smith.
The “Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2005” mirrors legislation passed by the House in the last Congress, however the Senate did not pass its legislation, so Smith has decided to reintroduce a new bill.
The legislation, which is co-sponsored by 30 other Republican representatives, includes several provisions:
– allowing judges to order plaintiffs to reimburse litigation costs, including attorneys’ fees, if they file a frivolous suit;
– creating mandatory sanctions against attorneys and other parties who file frivolous lawsuits;
– removing the “safe harbor” provision which allows attorneys and plaintiffs to avoid sanctions if they withdraw a frivolous lawsuits within 21 days;
– requiring lawsuits to be filed in the jurisdiction where the plaintiff lives, the defendant’s principal place of business is, or the injury occurred.
“This measure holds accountable those who abuse our judicial system. It reinstates trust in our legal system,” Smith says.

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