Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Space, Science, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas.) released the following statements following House passage of the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA) of 2017 (H.R. 720) by a vote of 230-188.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Lawyers who flood our federal courts with frivolous suits have no place in our civil justice system. Baseless suits brought against hardworking Americans, as well as businesses large and small, have a real cost that ultimately hurt the economy. Judges need to have the tools necessary to combat unscrupulous lawyers, and Congress is answering their calls for reform.

“Our civil justice system was created to serve Americans who brings legitimate claims to court, and the reforms in LARA allow for the doors of justice to stay open, while ensuring attorneys are held accountable for filing lawsuits with no basis in law or fact.”

Chairman Smith: “Everyday attorneys file frivolous lawsuits that cost innocent Americans their livelihoods. These attorneys engage in legalized extortion and try to force individuals to settle out of court instead of paying huge court costs. There is currently no disincentive to deter attorneys from filing frivolous claims. By requiring attorneys who file junk lawsuits to pay the court costs of those they sue, such lawsuits will be discouraged. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Grassley in the Senate to get this commonsense bill to President Trump’s desk.”

Background: LARA restores accountability to our legal system by penalizing lawyers for filing baseless lawsuits. The bill specifically ensures that judges impose monetary sanctions against lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits, including the attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the victim of the frivolous lawsuit; and reverses the 1993 amendments to Rule 11 that allow parties and their attorneys to avoid sanctions for making frivolous claims by withdrawing them within 21 days. Additionally, LARA passed the House during the 114th Congress.