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October 17, 2005

Chamber Calls on House to Help Stop Lawsuit Abuse Much-Needed Tort Reform Legislation Scheduled for Floor Votes

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today called on the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass three critical bills that will help protect business owners from lawsuit abuse.

“The foundation of the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ business model seems to be frivolous litigation and lawsuits against entire industries,” said ILR President Lisa Rickard. “In passing these bills, the House would throw a serious wrench in the engine driving their lawsuit machine.”

The following tort reform bills are scheduled to be considered by the House in the coming weeks and represent legislative priorities for ILR:

H.R. 420, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, is aimed at curbing frivolous litigation by strengthening the enforcement provisions of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures and by creating a new requirement that would reduce forum shopping by plaintiffs’ attorneys.

H.R. 554, the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act, would limit speculative lawsuits against our nation’s food industry and impede efforts to set public health policy through litigation.

H.R. 800, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, is a narrowly focused bill designed to restrict lawsuits against firearms manufacturers for the criminal or unlawful misuse of their products.

“A minority of unscrupulous plaintiffs’ lawyers are clogging our courts, endangering jobs and driving up consumer prices with their frivolous filings,” said Rickard. “This legislation will offer Americans some much-needed relief from lawsuit abuse.”

The mission of the Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer and faster for everyone. It seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial and educational activities at the national, state and local levels. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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