Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Another important election is coming up!

Texans will soon have the chance to head back to the voting booth for statewide runoff elections on Tuesday, May 24 – and like all elections, it’s important that voters turn out to cast a ballot. But before you head to the polls, be sure to learn where your candidate stands on ongoing efforts to rein in lawsuit abuse.  

Our state was once a poster child for lawsuit abuse, but thanks to the work of Texans across the state and lawmakers in Austin, Texas has enacted important reforms to our legal system and legal practices. Still, we can’t let that progress slip away, and that means ensuring that the candidates we vote for support keeping our civil justice system fair, equitable, and responsible.

Thanks in part to the reforms passed by state lawmakers over the years, the Texas economy is flourishing, jobs have been created, and more doctors are practicing in the state. We can’t afford to allow that to change.

Turnout for this upcoming runoff election has been low during early voting, so we ask that you please take some time to go vote on Tuesday, May 24. And be sure to take some time to research the candidates to find out their positions on lawsuit reform.

TEXANS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE URGE ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATES TO PRIORITIZE TRANSPARENCY,

OPEN ACCOUNTABILITY IN OFFICE

AUSTIN, TEXAS–As voters prepare to return to the polls for the primary election run-off on May 24, Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse is calling on all candidates for Attorney General to prioritize transparency and open accountability in office.

“At Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse, we’re heartened to see the American Tort Reform Association again calling for attorneys general and candidates for those state offices to embrace a general transparency code,” said Robert Wood, spokesman for Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse. “We’re hopeful that all candidates will step up to sign this pledge and commit to good government.”

The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) developed the Transparency Code as a collection of model policies that should govern the use of outside counsel by state attorneys general.

In 1999, Texas passed a law relating to how and when the state government could use outside counsel on litigation. The reason for the change stemmed from then-Attorney General Dan Morales’ decision to contract with five contingency fee lawyers to pursue claims against tobacco companies.

While it was discovered that these five personal injury lawyers did very little work on behalf of Texas taxpayers and the state’s lawsuit, they received $3.3 billion in fees when the cases were resolved as part of a larger national settlement.

In passing that law more than two decades ago, a bipartisan group of state leaders made transparency and accountability a top priority. Learn more about the law and the renewed push for transparency and accountability at tala.com. To see what leaders in Texas and other states have signed the Transparency Code, visit AGsunshine.com

The law requires the state to attempt to handle all litigation through in-house counsel. It outlines how an agency should handle contracting for outside counsel when it’s necessary to use lawyers outside of those employed by the state, requiring a contracting agency to first seek an hourly fee arrangement.

“Attorneys general should, of course, have the discretion and independence to enforce state law. Still, they must do so free from the influence of parties that may have a private interest in the outcome of any litigation their office may take on,” said Wood.

“Transparency and accountability are issues that should transcend partisanship,” added Wood.

Letter To The Editor on SB-6

From the Southeast Texas Record

By Robert Wood

RE: Pandemic Liability Protection Act: Is SB 6 Working?

Recent numbers pulled together by the Texas Civil Justice League from several sources show a new law providing COVID-19 civil liability protections for employers, health care providers, and non-profits following appropriate public health protocols is working.

The Pandemic Liability Protection Act was designed to steer these claims through the state’s Worker’s Compensation System and keep them out of court. That is what is happening, keeping our courts open to considering other issues in a system still backed up because of the pandemic.

Lawmakers did the right thing in passing this legislation that is benefiting the state’s economy and helping our continued recovery from the pandemic.  

Sincerely,

Robert Wood

Spokesman, Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse

Research candidates

It seems like every election there are surprises when it comes to the outcome of judicial races, with judges losing their elections through no apparent fault of their own.

Voters must search a little harder to find out about the candidates, which doesn’t always happen. That can lead to uninformed voting.

No matter the election, we all should take the time to learn more about judicial candidates on the ballot, including their record and whether they are committed to applying the law as written — not legislating from the bench.

Amber Pearce, board chair, Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas

Thanks to the San Antonio Express-News for printing Amber’s Letter to the Editor on March 13. Express-News subscribers can see the letter posted HERE.

It’s Election Time Again

In our “It Starts With You” campaign, we say that preventing lawsuit abuse starts with you. The same is true for choosing candidates in the next election. The upcoming primary elections and the November general election provide opportunities for voters to elect leaders that understand the importance of lawsuit reform.

We ask that you take some time and research candidates to see where they stand on the issues. Take into consideration where those candidates stand on lawsuit abuse and reform and make an informed decision at the ballot box.

Texas is a leader in lawsuit reform, and that has contributed to our state’s stellar position in creating jobs, attracting and keeping doctors in Texas, and helping support small employers.  If we want to keep a strong economy in Texas, it is critical that we not diminish these reforms and keep an eye out for new ways to improve the fairness of our courts.

Early voting starts Monday, February 14, and runs through Friday, February 25. Election Day is on Tuesday, March 1.

If you need to check if you’re registered or find out where you need to vote, click HERE.

For more voting information on the upcoming primary elections, visit VoteTexas.gov.

DON’T GET SERVED A LAWSUIT WITH YOUR EGGNOG

Tips on social host liability for holiday parties

In celebrating the holidays, we would all do well to plan ahead. 

In addition to making sure your guests know of any COVID protocols you wish to have in place, such as masking and social distancing, it’s always a good idea for hosts to consider protocols for celebrations that involve alcohol. 

Here are some suggestions that can help keep your guests safe and possibly avoid lawsuits being served up this holiday season: 

And for those of us enjoying the festivities as guests, let’s all be sure to take personal responsibility for our own actions to curb lawsuit abuse this holiday season. 

Latest Judicial Hellholes Report Puts Texas on Watch List

AUSTIN, TEXASThe following statement regarding Texas’ inclusion on the “watch list” for the American Tort Reform Foundation’s 2021-2022 Judicial Hellholes® report should be attributed to Marla Mathews, spokesperson for Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse:

“By disregarding Texas’ long-standing prohibition on introducing evidence about different products or dissimilar accidents in product liability cases and upholding a verdict that found a defendant liable for injuries caused by a product that exceeded safety standards, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District at Dallas landed Texas back on the Judicial Hellholes® report.

“Texas has long been a beacon for smart-minded lawsuit reform that ensures our courts are used for justice – not greed. It’s troubling to see Texas back on the Judicial Hellholes® “Watch List,” signaling the need for Texans to remain vigilant in the fight against lawsuit abuse.

“Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse and the Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse movement were founded in Texas, and our work remains ever necessary as this year’s Judicial Hellholes® report makes clear.”

To read the full ATRA Judicial Hellholes® report, visit https://www.judicialhellholes.org/. To learn more about the work of TALA and the CALA movement in Texas, visit tala.com.

# # #

Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) is a non-profit, statewide grassroots coalition dedicated to educating the public about the cost and consequences of lawsuit abuse, challenging those who abuse our legal system, and returning common sense and fairness to our courts. At TALA, we work with Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) groups throughout the state. Launched in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley in 1990, the CALA movement has spread across the country. Online at tala.com.

SAVE THE DATE

On Thursday, January 20, 2022, at 5:30 p.m., Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas is hosting an Election 2022 Preview event featuring the Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey.

We hope you will be able to join us!

Stay tuned for registration information.

Be an Informed Voter!

On November 2, Texans will head to the polls to vote on eight proposed Texas constitutional amendments and local issues and candidates that will vary by areas of the state.  As we cast our ballots, Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse would like to remind voters of the important role each of us plays in keeping Texas a leader in the lawsuit reform movement.  Reining in lawsuit abuse helps:  

To protect these reforms and keep Texas the #1 state in the country to do business, it’s critical that voters cast informed ballots.  Be sure to learn about the issues before stepping into the voting booth!  

For more voting information on the upcoming election, visit VoteTexas.gov.  And for a look at the eight proposed Texas constitutional amendments, here’s a summary from the Texas Tribune

Early voting ends on October 29, 2021.

Election Day is November 2, 2021.

Reform Works

Texas’ 2003 medical liability reforms have attracted new doctors to the state.  More about these reforms and why preserving them are important to health care access can be found here at Texas Civil Justice League.