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September 13, 2004

Chamber Hails House Passage of Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today hailed the passage of H.R. 4571, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004, by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act will help put an end to the abuses of our civil justice system by unscrupulous trial lawyers,” said ILR President Lisa Rickard. “The House has taken an important step toward providing much-needed relief to small business owners and consumers who are footing the bill for America’s legal crisis.”

H.R. 4571 will help curb frivolous litigation by creating a new requirement that would reduce forum shopping by plaintiffs’ attorneys and will strengthen enforcement provisions by making monetary sanctions against attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits mandatory and allowing sanctions for frivolous or harassing conduct during discovery.

Jim Wordsworth, a restaurant owner and member of the U.S. Chamber Small Business Committee, highlighted the importance of the bill to small business owners during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “Small business owners struggle to survive each and every day in the face of frivolous litigation and rising liability costs,” said Wordsworth.

H.R. 4571 passed the House after floor debate by a vote of 229 to 174.

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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