New coalition formed to back Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act

Liability and Insurance Week
Monday, May 16, 2005

A new front has opened in the battle over civil justice legislation with the creation of a broad business coalition that will focus on enacting the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA) into law.
Called the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Coalition, the new group represents more than 70 business organizations that support H.R. 420, legislation that would impose mandatory economic sanctions on attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits in violation of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
LARA would also impose restrictions on the venues in which personal injury claims could be filed. The coalition is chaired by Sherman Joyce, president of the American Tort Reform Association and includes such major business groups as the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Restaurant Association and the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

But Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, blasted the legislation, noting that it is opposed by the Judicial Conference of the United States, the vast majority of federal judges, the American Bar Association and numerous consumer groups.
The bill would, she said, remove a court’s discretion to impose sanctions for the filing of frivolous lawsuits and eliminate a “safe harbor” provision that gives parties 21 days to withdraw a frivolous claim or defense before sanctions are imposed.
Rather, Doroshow said, the bill would reestablish a rule that was eliminated 12 years ago because it created enormous and self-defeating problems in the legal system, including the creation of wasteful litigation and abuse by attorneys.
There is absolutely no need for this legislation, Doroshow said, which would interfere with the authority of state courts.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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