Over the next two weeks citizens rights are under attack through a series of bills that will be brought to the House floor. These bills seek to limit the rights of consumers, workers, patients and small businesses. The bills, which will be voted on throughout the next two weeks, were rushed through the House Judiciary

Over the next two weeks citizens rights are under attack through a series of bills that will be brought to the House floor. These bills seek to limit the rights of consumers, workers, patients and small businesses. The bills, which will be voted on throughout the next two weeks, were rushed through the House Judiciary Committee without a single hearing. Furthermore, no testimony was heard from anyone impacted by any of these bills. H.R. Bills 725, 720, 985, and 1215 will make it difficult—if not impossible—for Americans harmed by corporate misconduct to seek justice in our nation’s courts. Smith Mohlman Injury Law opposes all of these bills and we urge everyone to contact their members of Congress and stand up for your rights.

In all lawsuits, where a suit is brought, is a very important decision made by yourself or an attorney. Depending on the circumstances an attorney may bring a case in federal court or in state court. , also known as the “Innocent Party Protection Act” will change the current fraudulent joinder standard, making it significantly more difficult to remand an improperly removed state case. In other words, this bill makes it more difficult to prove that a party to a suit has improperly removed a case out of the correct court to benefit themselves. This type of legislation rewards fraudulent activity and limits remedies of innocent parties.

Rule 11 of the federal rules of civil procedure governs the signing of legal documents. The rule makes sure that attorneys are held accountable for any documents they produce with regard to their client. Sanctions can be brought if it is determined that an attorney has violated this rule. H.R. 720, also known as the “Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act”, would make Rule 11 sanctions mandatory rather then discretionary. The new bill eliminates an attorney’s right to correct his error. Currently sanctions are regulated by other attorneys and judges who use their discretion while evaluating the damage done to all parties. H.R. 720 puts an undue burden on the legal profession as a whole.

H.R. 985, also known as the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act”, seeks to wipe out most class action lawsuits, multi-district litigation, and mass tort claims. The “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act” has been rolled into H.R. 985. This act will make it more difficult for asbestos victims to recover from asbestos trusts. Asbestos exposure kills its victims.

The “Protecting Access to Unsafe Care Act of 2017” is the most limiting of the proposed legislation. H.R. 1215 seeks to greatly weaken the accountability of unsafe hospitals, incompetent doctors, nursing homes and pharmaceutical companies that injure or kill patients. The bill puts a federal limit on the value of life, and takes away rights that Americans currently have which are guaranteed by state governments across the nation. This type of action limits the rights of citizens in their own state while giving even more power to politicians in Washington D.C.

Some of the harsh provisions included in H.R 1215 include:

  • federally mandated cap of $250,000 across the board, even if your state allows more.
  • A federally mandated statute of limitations which limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.
  • Repeal of joint liability laws which will shift the cost burden to the victim if the tortfeasor cannot pay.
  • Prohibition of a lump sum allowing insurance companies to recoup costs by collecting interest.
  • Replacement of rights currently guaranteed by your state in favor of more strict federal regulations.

Those expressly punished by this bill are families receiving health care through the Affordable Care Act, veterans covered by federal health plans and Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Furthermore, this bill will affect more than just medical malpractice suits. The expansive language in the bill uses definitions such as “health care lawsuit” and “health care liability claim”. This language will not hold anyone in the medical profession accountable for their actions.

Smith Mohlman opposes these bills and together we can make a difference. Contact your representative and tell them to vote “no” for these bills. You can find your representative by entering your zip code at www.house.gov/representatives/find/. You can also access links to call or email your members of congress through www.takejusticeback.com/protectmyrighttofight.