Legal watchdogs kick off awareness week by reminding Texans that protecting the courts ‘starts with you’

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AUSTIN — When it comes to protecting Texas’ courts from frivolous lawsuits, “It Starts With You.”  That’s the message that Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse groups are delivering as they kick off Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week, which runs Oct. 1-5.

“Our ‘It Starts With You’ message is aimed at reminding Texans that we all play a pivotal role in stopping lawsuit abuse,” said D’Anne Buquet, executive director of Bay Area Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse in Corpus Christi.

“Texas legislators have passed significant lawsuit reforms over the years, but we all know that you can’t legislate personal responsibility,” Buquet added.  “We want to remind all Texans that it’s up to all of us to be smart legal consumers, to show up for jury service, and to do all that we can to ensure our courts are used for justice, not greed.”

Buquet said the CALAs are promoting the “It Starts With You” message for Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week – and beyond – in varied ways, including digital media and with a legal consumer guide.

The consumer guide (http://bit.ly/TALAConsumerGuide), is designed to help consumers know their rights and make smart choices when they hire a lawyer or consider filing a lawsuit.

Sergio Contreras, president of Rio Grande Valley Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, said Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week is a perfect time to talk about the importance of individuals curbing lawsuit abuse.

“Legislation can only do so much, the rest is up to all Texans,” Contreras said.  “It’s up to all of us to be accountable and consider how our actions impact others.  After all, the civil justice system suffers when we avoid jury service.  And when others pursue frivolous lawsuits, it costs us all.  We all pay and we all lose when others abuse our legal system.”

And while the Texas Legislature has enacted key lawsuit reforms over the past two decades, CALA leaders urge Texans to take a proactive stance to protect those gains.

“Texas is a model state for lawsuit reform, but we also know that this doesn’t relieve us of our duty to be responsible custodians of the courts,” said Karen Easterling, chair for Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas in Austin.  “Each of us has a responsibility to be aware of the issues and continue to call out abuses in the civil justice system.”

Read more on SE Texas Record.