What the Hail? Texas Back on Judicial Hellholes List

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Our allies at Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse are shining a light on a ranking no part of the state should want. The Rio Grande Valley (specifically Hidalgo County) was named a “Judicial Hellhole” in a just released annual report published by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA). “Judicial Hellholes” are jurisdictions across the country where the laws are applied in an unfair or unbalanced manner.

“While Texas has long been recognized as a national leader in reining in frivolous lawsuits and championing smart reform, the findings in this latest ATRA report raise concerns for consumers, small business owners and all Texans who care about a civil justice system based on common sense and fairness,” said Jennifer Harris, a spokesperson for Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA).

Hidalgo County is a favorite jurisdiction for plaintiffs’ lawyers filing thousands of lawsuits accusing insurers of not paying up for storm damage. The cases have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for lawyers while insurance policyholders face skyrocketing premiums and, in some cases, an inability to obtain coverage.

TALA and the Rio Grande Valley Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (RGV CALA) first exposed the troubling trend in a 2014 study of hailstorm lawsuits and subsequently advocated in favor of further reform by the Texas Legislature. Hail storm lawsuit reform is one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s named priorities for the next Legislative Session.

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