Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse
Texas once had the biggest lawsuit abuse problem in the nation and was dubbed the “Wild West” of lawsuit abuse. Personal injury lawyers flocked to our state and bragged that they could win big money in Texas courts. They manufactured cases to make tens of millions of dollars. Small business owners operated in fear of the one lawsuit that could put them out of business and their employees out of a job, and doctors were being driven out of the state or out of their practice, by abusive and baseless suits.
Fortunately, times have changed for the better. With Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) leading the charge, Texans said “enough is enough” and demanded reforms to bring common sense and fairness back to our courts.
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is a grassroots movement of people concerned that lawsuit abuse hurts Texas families and Texas employers and can ultimately cost jobs and limit access to all types of goods and services. With more than 25,000 supporters statewide, CALA is a community-based movement 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. Launched in Texas' Rio Grande Valley in 1990, the CALA movement has spread throughout the state, with chapters in East Texas, Houston, Central Texas, Corpus Christi, as well as in the Valley, and across the country.
Texas is now a leader in the lawsuit reform movement – and the resulting benefits to Texans are undeniable. Lawsuit reforms have helped create or retain jobs in our state, allowed small employers to flourish, dramatically improved access to health care, especially in underserved areas of our state – and brought balance and fairness to our courts.
“Civil justice reform has directly benefited the Texas economy and dramatically improved access to health care,” states Stephanie Gibson, Executive Director of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas. “Our Reform Works Campaign shines a spotlight not only on the benefits of reform, but also on the intent of some personal injury lawyers to return Texas to the days when lawsuit abuse ruled this state. Reform works and it’s worth protecting.”
In the 1990s and early 2000s, excessive lawsuits were driving health care providers from their practices or forcing them to stop offering certain services, leaving some areas of Texas with little or no access to medical care. Now, thanks to common-sense lawsuit reforms, Texans have access to record numbers of new doctors, and many are practicing in historically underserved parts of the state. And, after years of decline, the ranks of medical specialists practicing in Texas are growing, including obstetricians, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and pediatricians.
Today, Texas is the standard bearer for lawsuit reforms that improve access to health care.
The Health-related Benefits of Reform are Undeniable
- 10,000 new physicians in Texas since the passage of reforms in 2003;
- More access to doctors in high-risk specialties such as neurosurgeons, emergency room physicians and OB/GYNS;
- Increased spending on patient care by local hospitals such as expanded emergency rooms and neonatal units; and
- A $1.74 billion direct economic impact (due to increased number of physician practices).
Our civil justice system is designed to provide compensation for real injuries, and the more the system is abused, the less it is able to help those who need it the most. Unfortunately it is too often abused by those who view our legal system as a lottery where even dubious claims can lead to a huge payday.
Today Texas courts are much improved, but there is still work to be done. In the most recent regular session of the Texas Legislature, personal injury lawyers reportedly spent more than $9 million in their efforts to pass new laws that would roll back reforms or create new ways to sue. Although these efforts were thwarted, the victory was not easy. This next session we do expect the personal injury lawyers to pursue removal of the limit on non-economic damages. This would diminish all the progress that has been made since 2003.
That is why CALA is actively working to encourage the public to be fully informed about who they are electing to preside over our courts, to serve on a jury when called, and to continue to demand civil justice laws that are fair and to put an end to lawsuit abuse in every corner of our state. If you would like more information on how you can become involved with CALA, please visit www.calactx.com.