H.R. 4571 - Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004

COMMITTEE ACTION: REPORTED BY VOICE VOTE on Monday September 13, 2004.
FLOOR ACTION: AGREED TO BY THE YEAS AND NAYS 228 - 165 on Tuesday, September 14, 2004.
MANAGERS: SESSIONS/MCGOVERN
108th Congress
2nd Session

H. RES.766
[Report No. 108-684]

H.R. 4571 - Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004

1. Modified closed rule.

2. Provides one hour of debate in the House equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on the Judiciary.

3. Waives all points of order against consideration of the bill.

4. Provides that the bill shall be considered as read for amendment.

5. Provides that the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on the Judiciary now printed in the bill shall be considered as adopted.

6. Makes in order the amendment printed in the Rules Committee report accompanying the resolution, if offered by Representative Turner of Texas or his designee, which shall be considered as read, and which shall be debatable for 40 minutes equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent.

7. Waives all points of order against the amendment printed in the report.

8. Provides one motion to recommit with or without instructions.

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RESOLUTION

Resolved, That upon the adoption of this resolution it shall be in order without intervention of any point of order to consider in the House the bill (H.R. 4571) to amend rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to improve attorney accountability, and for other purposes. The bill shall be considered as read for amendment. The amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on the Judiciary now printed in the bill shall be considered as adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill, as amended, and on any further amendment thereto to final passage without intervening motion except: (1) one hour of debate on the bill, as amended, equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on the Judiciary; (2) the further amendment printed in the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution, if offered by Representative Turner of Texas or his designee, which shall be in order without intervention of any point of order, shall be considered as read, and shall be separately debatable for 40 minutes equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent; and (3) one motion to recommit with or without instructions.


SUMMARY OF AMENDMENT MADE IN ORDER

Turner (TX) #2 Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute.

Section 1. Sanctions for Frivolous Pleading– Imposes mandatory sanctions on frivolous pleadings (first violation - required payment of costs and attorneys fees; second violation – adds that the attorney is held in contempt and monetary fine; third violation – adds referral to state bar for disciplinary proceedings).

Section 2. Sanctions for Frivolous Conduct During Discovery – Imposes mandatory sanctions on discovery violations (first violation - required payment of costs and attorneys fees; second violation – adds that the attorney is held in contempt and monetary fine; third violation – adds referral to state bar for disciplinary proceedings).

Section 3. Ban on Frivolous Concealment of Unlawful Conduct – Limits the ability of corporate wrongdoers to conceal any conduct harmful to public welfare by requiring that court records may not be sealed unless the court first finds that such sealing is justified.

Section 4. Enhanced Sanctions for Document Destruction – Provides that parties which destroy documents in connection with civil proceedings shall be punished with mandatory civil sanctions, held in contempt of court, and referred to state bar for disciplinary proceedings.

Section 5. Expedited Disposition of Frivolous and other Lawsuits in State Courts – Imposes the Civil Justice Reform Act, which has proved successful in federal courts, to the state courts in order to speed up the pretrial process and weed out junk lawsuits (40 minutes).

TEXT OF THE AMENDMENT(.pdf)