Contact: Michelle Widmann
American Association for Justice
AAJ Press Room
AAJ Response to House Judiciary Committee Approval of H.R. 966
Washington, DC—The following is a statement from American Association for Justice (AAJ) President Gibson Vance in response to the House Judiciary Committee approving H.R. 966:
“This bill is the latest favor to big corporations that undermine the rights of American workers and consumers.
“This bill imposes rules that were in place from 1983 to 1993, which judges and legal scholars ruled a complete failure. With this legislation, Congress forces our courts to turn back the clock to a rule that did not work and that judges themselves have found to be unnecessary and ineffective.”
- Rule 11, as it is currently written, gives judges the flexibility to determine when to enforce sanctions against attorneys who file lawsuits containing errors or for improper purposes.
- H.R. 966 would take away that flexibility, replacing the discretion of federal court judges with Congressionally-mandated rules that were previously tested and found to be a complete failure.
- When these ill-advised rules were in effect from 1983 to 1993, it actually resulted in more litigation and prevented Americans who were targets of discrimination or civil rights violations from bringing meritorious cases.
- Rule changes in H.R. 966 would include:
- Mandatory, rather than discretionary, sanctions;
- Incentivizing parties to drag out litigation by filing unwarranted motions for attorney’s fees;
- Removing the safe-harbor provision of the rule, effectively eliminating the ability to remedy minor infractions.
- The American Bar Association, Judicial Conference of the United States, and a coalition of consumer groups have written letters to Congress opposing this legislation.