Smith: LARA Act will end the ‘legalized extortion’ of lawsuit abuse

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced legislation on Thursday to reduce frivolous lawsuits that tie up the nation’s court system, and cost American companies billions of dollars each year.

The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA) would enforce mandated sanctions against lawyers who file lawsuits in federal court that are found to be without merit. 

“Lawsuit abuse is common in America because the lawyers who bring these frivolous cases have everything to gain and nothing to lose,” Smith, former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said. “Lawyers can file meritless lawsuits, and defendants are faced with the choice of years of litigation, high court costs, and attorneys’ fees or a settlement out of court. This is legalized extortion. The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act restores accountability to our legal system by imposing mandatory sanctions on attorneys who file worthless lawsuits.”

If passed, the bill would restore some of the federal laws holding lawyers accountable for lawsuit abuse that were diluted in 1993.

“Putting the brakes on frivolous lawsuits will go a long way toward balancing the scales of justice, upholding the rule of law and improving the public good,” Grassley, the current House Judiciary Committee chairman, added. “The serious threat of punishment for filing frivolous lawsuits that would be enacted with our bill will help to deter these baseless suits.”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), current House Judiciary Committee chairman, is an original co-sponsor of the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act. Other co-sponsors of the bill are Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX).

“LARA ensures that our justice system is not just another tool for those who line their pockets by filing frivolous suits,” Smith concluded. “I look forward to working with Sen. Grassley to get this good bill passed in the House and the Senate, and sent to the president’s desk.”