Bill Targets ‘Frivolous’ Suits, But Critics Say It Misses Mark

Details

Publish Date:
April 28, 2017
Author(s):
  • Kaufman, Bruce
Source:
Class Action Litigation Report (Bloomberg - BNA)
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Summary

“Frivolous lawsuits” against Starbucks over excess ice in iced coffee or whether Kellogg’s Froot Loops cereal contains real fruit would largely disappear if federal judges punished attorneys by hitting them where it hurts—in their wallets, supporters of the business-friendly federal Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act say.

Federal judges already have the authority to sanction attorneys for filing meritless suits under a rule that applies to federal civil litigation. But supporters of LARA ( H.R. 720, S. 237), which passed the House and is pending in the Senate, say the current rule is toothless, that monetary sanctions are rare and often too gentle to discourage the practice.

Nora Freeman Engstrom, a professor at Stanford Law School in Stanford, Calif., and an expert in tort law and ethics, agreed.

Nonmeritorious tort suits are often abandoned soon after discovery, Engstrom said.

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