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house Bill H.R. 3624

Should Federal Judges Have a Statutory Procedure to Exclude Defendants Included Improperly in Lawsuits?

Argument in favor

By creating a statutory procedure for federal judges to assess the plausibility of claims against defendants, innocent small businesses will be spared from facing frivolous lawsuits.

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02/26/2016
The reduction of frivolous lawsuits saves room for serious cases to move forward. Shouldn't we maintain the right to a speedy trial?
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Jeffery's Opinion
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02/26/2016
It may seem like a solution looking for a problem, but I think that it is a bigger problem to include innocents in frivolous lawsuits.
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davewalker's Opinion
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02/26/2016
This actually seems like something the government should be doing for a change.
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Argument opposed

There’s no evidence that federal courts are failing to prevent innocent and uninvolved parties from being included as defendants in lawsuits. This bill is a solution in search of a problem.

Raven's Opinion
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02/25/2016
Diverse jurisdiction is the main reasons why complainants will face problems in civil cases regarding subpoenas, warrants for evidence and testimony. We must not allow corporations, their officers and managers to be excluded from the process of justice.
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William's Opinion
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02/25/2016
Another waste of time while ignoring the real issues.
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Jon's Opinion
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02/25/2016
This is One example of waste. There is no problem here but legislators will waster taxpayer money debating this. It's probably pushed by the insurance lobby. If there is no connection to the case it will be back in Federal court anyway. This will result in additional time and money spent on litigation. 99% of the motions that could be filed under this rule I will get you will be frivolous or based on some jaded view of the facts that will lose.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed February 25th, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 229 Yea / 189 Nay
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedSeptember 28th, 2015

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What is House Bill H.R. 3624?

This bill would modify the procedures under which federal courts consider a motion to remand back to a state court a case that had already been removed from a state court and sent to the federal court. Specifically, it seeks to give federal judges the ability to prevent attorneys from adding defendants to a lawsuit who have no connection to the case for the purpose of getting the case heard in a court with a different jurisdiction. Typically, plaintiffs and their attorneys use this strategy to get their case sent back to a state court, which is why federal judges would be tasked with considering the validity of the motion to remand.

It would allow a motion for remand and opposition to the motion to include affidavits or other evidence that:

  • Show a plausible claim for relief against each non-diverse defendant, or lack thereof. (Non-diverse defendants are under the same jurisdiction, while diverse defendants are under different jurisdictions);

  • Indicate a good faith intention to prosecute the action against each non-diverse defendant, or to seek a joint judgment, or the lack of good faith intent.

Federal courts must deny a motion to remand if they find that the complainant doesn’t state a plausible claim for relief against each non-diverse defendant under relevant state law, or if there is found to be no good faith intention to prosecute the action or seek a joint judgment.  

Impact

Attorneys, their clients, and parties improperly named in lawsuits; and federal judges.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3624

$0.00
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would not result in any significant costs to the federal government.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) introduced this bill to protect small business owners and individuals from being improperly named in lawsuits:

“When trial lawyers want to game our justice system, they file frivolous lawsuits against small businesses. The trial lawyers increase their profit, but the small business owners face significant legal fees. This bill protects small business owners from these frivolous lawsuits so that they can continue to create jobs and contribute to the local economy.”

The Obama administration has threatened to veto this bill if it were to be passed by Congress on the grounds that federal courts don’t need additional tools at their disposal to deal with improper lawsuits:

“Existing federal law already provides federal courts with ample tools to address this problem, and the proponents of H.R. 3624 have offered no credible evidence that the Federal courts are failing to carry out their responsibility to prevent fraudulent joinder. The bill would therefore add needless complexity to civil litigation and potentially prevent plaintiffs from raising valid claims in State court.”

The House Judiciary Committee passed this legislation on a vote of 13-10.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Jeffrey Beall)

AKA

Fraudulent Joinder Prevention Act of 2016

Official Title

To amend title 28, United States Code, to prevent fraudulent joinder.