This week, the U.S. House of Representatives is focused on attacking the right of injured people to sue the corporations and individuals responsible for their injury. There are four bills on the floor of the House that seek to achieve blows to civil rights, and the passage of any one of them into law would mean thousands of Americans lose their right to justice.
Don’t be fooled by the names of these bills. They all are meant to deny innocent victims of their right to hold corporations and individuals accountable for their actions.
- H.R. 725: the “Innocent Party Protection Act”: this law would make it significantly harder for injured parties to seek justice in state court by changing the rules that require certain cases to stay in state court.
- H.R. 720: the “Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act” : this law would create a mandatory sanction where a party would have to pay the attorney fees and litigation expenses of the opposing party if a lawsuit is found to be “frivolous”, even if the party filed the case in good faith, doesn’t learn that the lawsuit is not supported by the evidence until after it is filed, and would willingly dismiss the case within the time periods currently set by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to avoid these type of sanctions.
- H.R. 985: the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act” : this law is to make it harder for a class action lawsuits to get certified by insisting all parties involved suffered the “same type and scope of injury.” Rolled in with this bill is:
- H.R. 906: the “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act” : a repeatedly proposed law that would make it more difficult for asbestos victims, including veterans, to recover from asbestos trusts by requiring extensive documentation of their asbestos exposure and resulting injuries.
This body of legislation is a stunning assault on Americans’ rights to access the courts. By dismantling the legal framework that holds doctors, hospitals, and the Federal government itself accountable to those they care for, Congress is proving they care little about the lives and well-being of their constituents. We must hold our representatives accountable, and fight for what we know we deserve. Please contact your state representatives about these bills and let them know that voters are watching.