Grassley wants to end 'tax' for frivolous lawsuits

The Senate has taken a big first step in reforming the civil liability system.

On Feb. 10, the Senate approved a bill that shifts most class action lawsuits into federal courts, where they are subject to more rigorous review before being certified. The 72-26 vote came just days after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure.

President Bush called for the reforms in his Feb. 2 State of the Union address.

The business lobby, including many design and construction firms, supports the legislation. In addition to moving lawsuits over $5 million out of state courts, the measure also requires judges to review all coupon statements and limit attorney’s fees. Plaintiffs in class actions often receive coupons or something else of little value to consumers while attorneys collect substantial fees, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The House is expected to take up the Senate bill shortly.

"The Senate has taken a critical step toward granting families, consumers and employers relief from the heavy burden of lawsuit abuse," said...

(Photo courtesy of Sen. Grassley's office)