The American Tort Reform Association said the proposed legislation "would remove two of the biggest thorns in the side of the U.S. judicial system: frivolous claims and forum shopping."
"Forum shopping" consists of lawyers hunting for a sympathetic judge or location for a suit.
Under the proposed law, a judge would be required to punish a lawyer for a frivolous suit, such as imposing costs of the suit on the lawyer.
"We applaud the committee for passing this common sense civil justice reform that will hold personal injury lawyers accountable to basic, fair standards by mandating sanctions against lawyers who abuse the civil justice system," ATRA president Sherman Joyce said.
The proposed Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004 passed out of committee by an 18-10 vote, ATRA said. The bill was introduced in June by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex.