The House passed the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (HR 758) on Thursday.
U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford (R-Dist. 1) and Jim Clyburn (D-Dist. 6) voted differently on the measure -- Sanford supported it while Clyburn did not.
Clyburn was the lone South Carolina congressman to vote against the bill.
Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), praised the House for passing H.R. 758, the aim of which is to reduce wasteful litigation by making sanctions against frivolous claims mandatory rather than discretionary. If made into law, the 21-day "safe harbor" period -- during which a plaintiff's lawyer, without penalty, can withdraw a lawsuit -- would be eliminated.
“Ever since Congress watered down federal laws that are supposed to prevent frivolous lawsuits in 1993, such claims have led to increased insurance costs, job losses and an almost total failure of attorney accountability," Rickard said. "The result over time has been potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary costs to small businesses and our nation’s economy.
“This legislation would hold plaintiffs’ lawyers accountable for filing frivolous claims so they cannot simply withdraw a claim without consequence," Rickard said. "This would result in fewer bogus lawsuits, and the overall effect would be to reduce wasteful litigation. We commend the House for passing this important legislation and urge the Senate to swiftly do the same and send this bill to the president’s desk.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.