Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.

It Starts With You! Fairness in Our Legal System Is Up to Each of Us

By D’Anne Buquet, Sergio Contreras and Bobby Jenkins

Texans value the independence and freedom to make their own choices.  But those choices can have an impact in all aspects of our lives in Texas, including at the courthouse. And, in return, what happens in the courtrooms can impact every Texans’ lives and livelihoods, too.

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), a national movement of small business owners, medical professionals and community leaders committed to smart-minded lawsuit reform, has its roots right here in Texas. Over the years, we’ve been on the front lines of lawsuit reform and ensuring our courts are used for justice, not greed. But, one thing is clear, if we’re going to rein in lawsuit abuse, it starts with you.

That’s the name of our latest education and awareness campaign, one that we hope will get more Texans engaged in our civil justice system through jury service and being well informed about alternatives to lawsuits and how to choose a lawyer when you must sue.

Every day, Texans make choices and important contributions toward stopping lawsuit abuse. From small business owners calling out lawsuit abuse in their communities to local lawsuit abuse advocates making their voices heard at the State Capitol, we’ll say it again, it starts with you.

The Lone Star State was once the wild west of frivolous lawsuits and outlandish court awards, ranked among the American Tort Reform Association’s worst Judicial Hellholes. But over the years, supporters of the CALA movement successfully pressed for reforms to rein in abusive legal practices driving doctors out of under-served communities, exposing employers who own or operate delivery trucks to frivolous claims, and costing Texans jobs.  The goal has always been to embrace common-sense reforms to stop the abuse while preserving Texans’ access to our civil courts where and when they need it.

While Texas has enacted strong reforms over the past 20 years, it’s up to all of us to take it upon ourselves to be savvy legal consumers, to show up for jury service, to cast informed ballots every election, and to do all that we can ensure our courts are used for justice.

There are times when one may need to consult with a lawyer, if only to find out where you stand. Finding a lawyer is often like finding a doctor – usually you only look for one when you are in need of help. While selecting a lawyer isn’t easy, there are things you should know before hiring one and deciding whether to go forward with a lawsuit.

The civil justice 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.

Our courts should not be used to seek revenge or try to “hit the lawsuit lottery.” Conflicts are inevitable in our society, but a lawsuit should be the last resort, not the first choice. Many disputes can be resolved informally, through phone calls, letters, or personal meetings. Make sure you have exhausted all other means before bringing a costly and disruptive lawsuit.

We think an informed Texan is the best tool to fight lawsuit abuse and to make informed decisions about when and how to find a lawyer when those circumstances warrant.  Becoming a sharp legal consumer means understanding your rights, asking the right questions, and being aware of potential pitfalls or common lawsuit scams.

Being a smart legal consumer can be the best weapon against lawsuit abuse. It really does start with you.

D’Anne Buquet is executive director of Bay Area Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse in Corpus Christi.

Sergio Contreras is president and CEO of Rio Grande Valley Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. 

Bobby Jenkins is a board member of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas. He is president and CEO of ABC Home & Commercial Services. 

Statement from Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse Regarding Commercial Vehicle Lawsuit Reform Taking Effect on Sept. 1

AUSTIN, TEXAS—The following is a statement from Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) regarding House Bill 19, which is aimed at reining in commercial vehicle lawsuit abuse and takes effect Sept. 1, 2021.  The bill was passed during this year’s regular session of the Texas Legislature and signed by Governor Greg Abbott in June.  The statement may be attributed to Marla Mathews, TALA spokesperson.

“With House Bill 19, Texas continues the state’s important work to support reforms that help ensure our civil courts are used for justice, not greed.  

“In the past 25-plus years, Texas lawmakers have made significant progress on reforms aimed at reining in abusive lawsuits and legal practices.  Once the poster child for lawsuit abuse, Texas continues to enact common-sense reforms, contributing to the state’s job-creating powers and business climate.

“With this reform, the state continues this important progress.”

Background on what led to HB 19

From fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2019, the number of motor vehicle lawsuits jumped 118 percent, according to the Texas Office of Court Administration. In contrast, other types of injury and damage cases decreased seven percent during the same period. 

Any truck or car with a company logo on it had become a target for abusive lawsuits, and as a result, insurance rates were skyrocketing, whether or not a company had been involved in an accident. That drove some trucking companies out of business. Nearly 88 percent of commercial carriers in Texas operate 10 or fewer vehicles, underscoring the fact that many of these employers are small businesses.

HB 19 includes needed changes to clarify the rules for how these lawsuits are handled and to ensure that juries have the facts they need to reach fair verdicts. The bill was authored by state Rep. Jeff Leach and sponsored by state Sen. Larry Taylor. 

TALA and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) groups advocated for the bill during this year’s regular legislative session. 

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

# # #

ATRA’s Everlasting Judicial Hellholes®: A Long Hot 20 Years

Texas has made this Judicial Hellholes list a number of times – but we’ve been spared it in recent years.  Yet, we know lawsuit abuse does continue to fester in our state.  Just this year, legislators had to step in to rein in abusive lawsuits targeting employers who own or operate commercial trucks and cars for deliveries and services.   

Read more about what other states are facing with their hellholes, via American Tort Reform Foundation.

TEXANS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE AND CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE LAUNCH “IT STARTS WITH YOU” AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

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.”

Statement from Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse Regarding Governor Abbott’s Approval of Lawsuit Reforms

AUSTIN, TEXAS—The following is a statement from Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) regarding Governor Abbott’s approval of lawsuit reforms passed during this year’s regular session of the Texas Legislature. The statement may be attributed to Marla Mathews, TALA spokesperson.

“With Governor Abbott’s signature on House Bill 19 and Senate Bill 6, Texas continues the state’s important work to support reforms that help ensure our civil courts are used for justice, not greed.  

“In the past 25-plus years, Texas lawmakers have made significant progress on reforms aimed at reining in abusive lawsuits and legal practices.  Once the poster child for lawsuit abuse, Texas continues to enact common-sense reforms, contributing to the state’s job-creating powers and business climate.

“By signing these two measures, Governor Abbott continues this important progress.”

HB 19 is aimed at reining in abusive lawsuits plaguing the owners and operators of commercial service and delivery vehicles in the state. The measure includes needed changes to clarify the rules for how these lawsuits are handled and to ensure that juries have the facts they need to reach fair verdicts. This law takes effect on Sept. 1, 2021.  

SB 6, the Pandemic Liability Protection Act, provides civil liability protections for employers, health care providers and non-profits that are following appropriate public health protocols. This measure took effect on June 14, 2021, the day it was signed by the governor.

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