Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse Leaders Laud Governor’s Call to Make Pandemic-related Lawsuit Protections an Emergency Issue for Legislature

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New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Elected Officials to Respond to COVID-19 Relief – Not Personal Injury Lawyers

AUSTIN, TEXAS—Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) leaders are applauding Governor Greg Abbott’s designation of coronavirus-related lawsuit protections as an “emergency item” for the current legislative session, paving the way for swift action on a critical element of pandemic relief and recovery for Texas.

“Unless the Legislature takes action, abusive and frivolous lawsuits will present a serious threat to employers and health care providers – and will undermine our state’s economic recovery from this pandemic,” said Amber Pearce, chair of CALA of Central Texas in Austin. “We thank Governor Abbott for his actions, and we urge the Legislature to act as quickly as possible to pass such legislation.”

According to the Texas Civil Justice League, legislation is expected to provide civil liability protections for businesses and health care providers who are following appropriate public health protocols.

“As Texans work to rebuild and recover from the pandemic, the last thing they need to face is an abusive lawsuit,” said D’Anne Buquet, executive director of Bay Area CALA in Corpus Christi. “Small businesses struggling to keep their doors open shouldn’t have to operate in fear of predatory personal injury lawyers and frivolous lawsuits.”

The grassroots, small business and citizen-led lawsuit reform movement – including Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse organizations across the state – include COVID-19 lawsuit protections and reforms to rein in abusive and costly commercial trucking lawsuits as top priorities during this year’s Legislature.

The groups point to recent polling by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) that finds overwhelming bipartisan support for government aid to small businesses and agreement that lawsuits are not the solution to COVID-19 relief.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents to the ATRA survey say those harmed by the pandemic should get assistance from policies passed by elected officials, versus just 7 percent who say they should get payouts from lawsuits. Additional findings from the survey show a majority of voters polled agree law firms using PPP funds for lawsuit advertising is inappropriate, and 65 percent of respondents said personal injury lawyer advertisements are annoying and take advantage of people.

“Americans are tired of some personal injury lawyers lining their pockets at the expense of small businesses,” said Sergio Contreras, president/CEO of Rio Grande Valley CALA, based in Weslaco.

Despite the lack of public support for lawsuits related to COVID-19, personal injury lawyers’ advertisements have increased nationwide.

“The threat of lawsuits makes it more difficult to weather the pandemic, and it’s frustrating to see some personal injury lawyers receiving government relief loans to in turn use them for lawsuit advertising,” Contreras said. “We applaud Governor Abbott on his work to protect employers and health care providers from frivolous lawsuits and to keep Texas open for business.”

For more on Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, visit www.tala.com.

To read more on the survey released by ATRA regarding COVID-19 related litigation visit ATRA.org.