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ATA Opposes Bill Supporting Frivolous Lawsuits

On Oct. 26, ATA joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, the American Tort Reform Association, and 35 other groups in a letter opposing the “Notice Pleading Restoration Act of 2009.” The letter, sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties takes issue with proposed legislation intended to overrule two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions: Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). In overruling these cases, the legislation would replace current pleading standards, not with a substantive principle, but with a bald statement that complaints cannot be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Such a high standard would mean that frivolous lawsuits could not be easily dismissed and that defendants would be forced to expend large sums of money to defend groundless actions.

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