Monday, September 28, 2015

Congressman Paul Cook Shows he's No Patriot & an Even Worse Policy Maker

In a recent newsletter from Congressman Cook, he brags about voting for HR 758, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2015.  He really should be ashamed of himself.

First, the law will bring from England its laws on who pays attorney fees in litigation (maybe Cook should run for the British Parliament, not Congress again!)--one which requires the loser to pay his or her own attorney AND the attorney of the side that wins. The American rule requires each side to bear their own attorney fees [absent some special statute or contractual provision]

Second, this bill is, like all of Cook's votes,  sided in favor of large corporations and companies. How? If we are going to shift to a system of loser paying attorney fees, we should make ALL parties who prevail on frivolous claims (including plaintiffs who defeat frivolous defenses) entitled to attorney fees ON TOP of whatever damages they get--HR 758 only gives defendants (typically large companies) attorney fees.

From the American Bar Association, a few more critical thoughts--It is a bad law for three reasons.

First the law was drafted in an empirical and historical vacuum WITHOUT the input of the judicial branch. The Rules Enabling Act was established by Congress to assure that amendment of Federal Rules occurs only after a comprehensive and balanced review of the problem and proposed solution is undertaken by the Judicial Conference of the United States. That review was not done.

Second, there is no demonstrated evidence that the existing sanction rule (called Rule 11) is inadequate and needs to be amended. Judges have all sorts of punitive tools in their arsenal

Third, by ignoring the lessons learned from ten (10) years of experience under 1983 mandatory version of Rule 11, Congress incurs the substantial risk that the proposed changes harm  litigants by encouraging additional litigation and increasing the court costs and delays. 
Paul Cook is a clueless another chapter in that book....his HR 758 vote.

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