WASHINGTON (June 16)—The Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire Industry Association both expressed support for a new bill introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, to mandate sanctions for lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits.
"Over the past few years, the tire industry has been in the spotlight, and legislation such as this would help stop lawyers from filing lawsuits against anyone and everyone," said Becky MacDicken, TIA government affairs director. The Smith bill would reinstate the portions of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures making sanctions mandatory against frivolous lawsuits, and extend the rule to state cases that affect interstate commerce.
"It's not a new idea, but it's a good one," said an RMA spokesman, who also praised a bill just signed into law by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour which caps pain-and-suffering awards in most lawsuits at $1 million. Mississippi, the spokesman noted, was often cited as a "judicial hellhole" by industry groups for its enormous punitive damage awards.