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June 21, 2004

Chamber Urges House to Pass Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004

WASHINGTON, DC — In written testimony, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform today urged the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass H.R. 4571, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004. The legislation would help curb frivolous litigation by strengthening the enforcement provisions of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures. The bill also contains important additions to Rule 11 that would reduce forum shopping by plaintiff s attorneys.

The key provisions of the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act would:

– Make monetary sanctions against attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits mandatory rather than discretionary and remove Rule 11 s safe harbor provision that allows attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits to avoid sanctions by withdrawing their suit after a motion for sanctions has been filed;

– Allow sanctions for frivolous or harassing conduct during discovery; and

– Plaintiffs can only sue where he or she lives or was injured, or where the defendant s principal place of business is located. The House Committee on the Judiciary today conducted a hearing on the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and currently has 18 co-sponsors. A copy of the Institute for Legal Reform s full written testimony in support of H.R. 4571 can be found at: www.legalreformnow.com.

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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