Westerman Votes for Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017

March 10, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) issued the following statement upon passage Friday (March 10) of H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, the third bill approved by the House this week that would tackle the issue of civil litigation reform:

“Frivolous lawsuits have made it difficult for entrepreneurs to do business in America,” Westerman said. “Action has been taken by Congress this week that would tackle this and other problems in our civil litigation system. If we are to once again reestablish America the land of opportunity for entrepreneurs and dreamers, we must continue to improve the environment for job creators, which includes reducing and preventing frivolous lawsuits. In Arkansas, 49 percent of residents work for a small business. These reforms are necessary for each one of them and for all those who aspire to step out and create their own American dream free from frivolous litigation.”

Other legislation approved by the House on Thursday (March 9) include H.R. 725, the Innocent Party Protection Act, and H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act.

Summaries of the bills provided by the House Judiciary Committee:

  • H.R. 720: Makes it mandatory for the victims of frivolous lawsuits filed in federal court to be compensated for the harm done to them by the filers of frivolous lawsuits.
  • H.R. 725: Under the bill, federal judges will have greater discretion to decide, early in the case, whether the local defendant can be held liable, and if not innocent local defendants can be released from the case much earlier, saving them time and money.
  • H.R. 985: The bill seeks to maximize recoveries by deserving victims, and weed out unmeritorious claims that would otherwise siphon resources away from innocent parties. Among the legislation’s reforms, the bill requires that classes consist of members with the same type and scope of injury. Additionally, under the proposed legislation, uninjured or non-comparably injured parties can still join class actions, but must do so separately from parties that experienced more extensive injury.