skip to main content

S. 237 (115th): Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017

The text of the bill below is as of Jan 30, 2017 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.

Summary of this bill

Source: Republican Policy Committee

See instead H.R. 720 which amends Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to improve attorney accountability by restoring mandatory sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits, in an effort to protect individuals and businesses from unnecessary legal costs. Specifically, the bill:

(1) restores mandatory sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits in violation of Rule 11;

(2) removes Rule 11’s ‘‘safe harbor’’ provision that currently allows parties and their attorneys to avoid sanctions for making frivolous claims by withdrawing frivolous claims after a motion for sanctions has been filed; and,

(3) requires monetary sanctions, including attorneys’ fees and compensatory costs, against any party making a frivolous claim.

The bill also specifies …



1st Session

S. 237


January 30, 2017

(for himself and Mr. Rubio) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to improve attorney accountability, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017.


Attorney accountability


Sanctions under rule 11

Rule 11(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is amended—


in paragraph (1), by striking may and inserting shall;


in paragraph (2), by striking Rule 5 and all that follows through motion. and inserting Rule 5.; and


in paragraph (4), by striking situated and all that follows through the end of the paragraph and inserting situated, and to compensate the parties that were injured by such conduct. Subject to the limitations in paragraph (5), the sanction shall consist of an order to pay to the party or parties the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred as a direct result of the violation, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. The court may also impose additional appropriate sanctions, such as striking the pleadings, dismissing the suit, or other directives of a non-monetary nature, or, if warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment of a penalty into the court..


Rule of construction

Nothing in this Act or an amendment made by this Act shall be construed to bar or impede the assertion or development of new claims, defenses, or remedies under Federal, State, or local laws, including civil rights laws, or under the Constitution of the United States.