House backs bill to deter lawsuits in business-friendly push

Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 12:30:20-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — The GOP-led House has passed legislation that requires judges to sanction attorneys and other parties who file frivolous lawsuits in federal district court. Supporters say the move will protect individuals and businesses from unnecessary legal costs.

The vote was 230-188.

The bill doesn’t change the standard that federal judges use to determine whether a lawsuit is frivolous, but it would ensure penalties for those who file such suits.

The bill eliminates a party’s ability to avoid sanctions by voluntarily withdrawing claims within 21 days.

House Republicans are pushing through several bills designed to overhaul the legal system, but those efforts face a harder time in the Senate.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says the lack of mandatory sanctions spurs the regular filing of baseless lawsuits.