New York State Bar President Claire P. Gutekunst today issued the
“We urge Congress to reject a bill (S.237, H.R. 720) that
misleadingly is labeled the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA).
“The bill’s supporters assert that it would discourage the filing
of ‘frivolous lawsuits.’ In fact, by reinstating a sanctions regime that
policymakers wisely repealed nearly 25 years ago, it would again encourage
unnecessary motion practice and increase the cost and length of litigation.
this legislation would be bad public policy. It would restore a broken
system in effect from 1983 to 1993. Under the prior rule,
federal lawsuits often became entangled with
unnecessary litigation over sanctions—curtailing the efficiency of the courts,
adding to litigation costs and delaying the resolution of cases.
That decade of experience led to repeal and replacement with the
current sanctions rule, which allows a party to seek sanctions for frivolous
litigation or motions but provides an opportunity for the other party to
withdraw or amend its papers and thus to resolve the dispute without court
involvement, thereby avoiding unnecessary litigation but still providing for
court intervention where needed.
“This bill would reinstitute the destructive practices under the
prior rule. Congress should learn from experience and not repeat a
mistake of the past.”
72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar
association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director, Media Services