WASHINGTON (Nov. 1)—For the second time in as many years, the House of Representatives has approved a bill designed to eliminate frivolous lawsuits.
The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, which passed by a 228-184 margin Oct. 27, would eliminate the 21-day grace period plaintiffs now get to withdraw lawsuits after defendants' attorneys file motions for sanctions. It also would set limits on where lawsuits can be filed, eliminating "forum shopping" among plaintiffs' attorneys for courts that offer big payoffs in product liability or personal injury suits.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire Industry Association are among the members of a coalition supporting the legislation, but groups such as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America claim the bill would hinder the rights of Americans to seek legal redress against negligent corporations. The Senate isn't expected to take up the bill this year, though the RMA said in a release that it would join the general business community in pressing for Senate passage.