Accuracy in Pleading Act Exposed

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The Accuracy in Pleading Act is listed under ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force and was included in the 1996 ALEC Sourcebook of American State Legislation. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

CMD's Bill Summary

This bill deters lawsuits by increasing sanctions for attorneys who bring suits with limited factual support. Prior to initiating a lawsuit, it can be difficult for a plaintiff suing a corporation to know what specific practices or activities may have led to the production of a defective product, or what corporate actions were taken that led to a dangerous situation. This bill makes it more difficult to bring a lawsuit on a "hunch" with the expectation that proof would develop as the suit progresses. It gives corporations a defense against lawsuits.

ALEC Bill Text


This provision is an important deterrent to litigants who would make filings with insufficient legal or factual support. The proposed rule, when applied uniformly, will lead to more disciplined and less wasteful litigation.

These provisions may be implemented as a statute or as a change in state rules of civil procedure. If rules changes are pursued and the state rules are patterned after the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), reference should be made to FRCP 11 in order to place these provisions in context.

Suggested Provisions

{Title, enacting clause, etc.}

Section 1. {Title}

The following Act shall be known and may cited as the Accuracy in Pleading Act.

Section 2. {Incorrect or false court filings.}

Every pleading, motion, and other paper of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's individual name, whose address shall be stated. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign the party's pleading, motion, or other paper and state the party's address. Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleading need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit. The rule in equity that the averments of an answer under oath must be overcome by the testimony of two witnesses or of one witness sustained by corroborating circumstances is abolished. The signature of an attorney or party constitutes a certificate by the signer that the signer had read the pleading, motion, or other paper; that to the best of the signer's knowledge, information and belief formed after reasonable inquiry, it is well grounded in fact and is warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law, and that it is not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation. If a pleading, motion, or other paper is not signed, it shall be stricken unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the pleader or movant. If a pleading, motion, or other paper is signed in violation of this rule, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, shall impose upon the person who signed it, a represented party, or both, or any other attorney who is not a signatory but who is responsible for the veracity of the content of the pleading, motion, or other paper, an appropriate sanction, which may include an order to pay to the other party or parties the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred because of the filing of the pleading, motion, or other paper, including reasonable attorney's fees.

Section 3. {Correction of subsequently detected false or incorrect statements.}

If after the filing of a document the attorney or party who signed the pleading, motion, or other papers discovers or obtains knowledge, information or belief that the document signed contains an error or falsehood, the party is obligated to provide corrected information within a reasonable period of time of learning of the error or falsehood.

Section 4. {Severability clause.}

Section 5. {Repealer clause.}

Section 6. {Effective date.}

ALEC's Sourcebook of American State Legislation 1995