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Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act bill forced through by House Republicans

A bill called the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act has passed the House 229-174, attempting to curb “frivolous” lawsuits. The bill includes such measures as punishing lawyers who bring three or more such lawsuits to court and bans “jury shopping,” allowing attorneys to take their cases to the most favorable juries or judges. Whether or not the legislation will make it through the Senate is questionable. Republicans were unsuccessful in trying to curb class action lawsuits last year and to override a Democratic filibuster earlier this year.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee issued a seven-page rebuttal to the bill, saying the legislation will have a “significant, adverse impact on the ability of civil rights plaintiffs to seek recourse in our court.” In a statement, Democrats said they are willing to go after the frivolous cases but not at the expense of injuring the ability of civil rights actions to be brought. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and sponsor of the bill, thinks frivolous lawsuits are responsible for driving up insurance premiums, increasing health care costs and putting a strain on the economy.

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