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H.R. 720 - Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017
Sponsor: Lamar Smith (R)
Introduced: 2017-03-13
Bill Status: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The expanded summary of the House reported version is repeated here.)

Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the sanctions provisions in Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to require the court to impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that has violated, or is responsible for the violation of, the rule with regard to representations to the court. Any sanction must compensate parties injured by the conduct in question.

The bill removes a provision that prohibits filing a motion for sanctions if the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after service or within another time the court sets.

Courts may impose additional sanctions, including striking the pleadings, dismissing the suit, nonmonetary directives, or penalty payments if warranted for effective deterrence.

Full Text

1st Session
H. R. 720


March 13, 2017

    Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


    To amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to improve attorney accountability, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017”.

SEC. 2. Attorney accountability.

(a) Sanctions under rule 11.—Rule 11(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is amended—

(1) in paragraph (1), by striking “may” and inserting “shall”;

(2) in paragraph (2), by striking “Rule 5” and all that follows through “motion.” and inserting “Rule 5.”; and

(3) in paragraph (4), by striking “situated” and all that follows through the end of the paragraph and inserting “situated, and to compensate the parties that were injured by such conduct. Subject to the limitations in paragraph (5), the sanction shall consist of an order to pay to the party or parties the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred as a direct result of the violation, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. The court may also impose additional appropriate sanctions, such as striking the pleadings, dismissing the suit, or other directives of a non-monetary nature, or, if warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment of a penalty into the court.”.

(b) Rule of construction.—Nothing in this Act or an amendment made by this Act shall be construed to bar or impede the assertion or development of new claims, defenses, or remedies under Federal, State, or local laws, including civil rights laws, or under the Constitution of the United States.

Passed the House of Representatives March 10, 2017.

    Attest:karen l. haas,   

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