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As a new study shows consumers are paying nearly $500 more for everyday goods and services each year because of lawsuit abuse, Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) organizations are kicking off a summer-long campaign to remind Texans that they play a pivotal role in stopping lawsuit abuse. 

The digital media-based public awareness campaign – “It Starts With You!” – kicks off in June and runs through August.  It includes a legal consumer guide to help individuals know their rights and make smart choices when they hire a lawyer or consider filing a lawsuit.

The effort comes as a new CALA-sponsored economic impact study shows excessive lawsuits and related civil court expenses end up costing U.S. consumers $160.1 billion every year.  That translates into $488 more every American pays each year for goods and services because of lawsuits and over-suing.

“Our ‘It Starts With You’ campaign is designed to remind Texans that they can make important contributions toward stopping lawsuit abuse, which costs us all as consumers,” said Marla Mathews, a spokesperson for Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse in Austin. “While Texas has enacted strong lawsuit reforms, we also know that you can’t legislate personal responsibility. It’s up to all of us to be smart legal consumers, to serve on juries when possible, and to do all that we can ensure our courts are used for justice, not greed.”

Texas lawmakers have made significant progress on lawsuit reforms during the past 25 years. Once the poster child for lawsuit abuse, Texas is now a model for common-sense reforms, which have contributed to the state’s business climate. Mathews said the “It Starts With You” campaign is a reminder of the role all Texans play in curbing lawsuit abuse. 

“We each have a responsibility to stop lawsuit abuse,” said Sergio Contreras, president/CEO of Rio Grande Valley CALA in Weslaco.  “And given that we all pay for abusive lawsuits in many ways, we should all be driven to do what we can to stop questionable lawsuits as quickly as possible.”

D’Anne Buquet, executive director of Bay Area CALA in Corpus Christi, said, “The legal system is designed to provide compensation for real injuries, and the more the system is abused, the less it’s able to help those who need it the most. While conflicts are inevitable in our society, a lawsuit should be the last resort, not the first choice.”

The legal consumer guide provides information to help legal consumers understand their rights, ask the right questions, and warn of some potential pitfalls. 

“In the end, being a smart legal consumer can be the best weapon against lawsuit abuse,” said Amber Pearce, chair of CALA of Central Texas in Austin.  “We hope our summer campaign will show Texans that the choices they make as a legal consumer can make a difference because It All Starts With You.”

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