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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.

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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.

Class Action Settlements Serve Lawyers Over Class Members

In many cases, class-action lawsuits enrich some personal injury lawyers at consumers’ expense.

Class action lawsuits were designed to combine legitimate cases, saving the court time and saving expenses for all involved.  But too often, the system has been used by some personal injury lawyers to pocket mega fees – sometimes millions of dollars – representing clients who might not even know they were involved in a suit until they get check for a few dollars or a coupon toward their next purchase.  

No longer an efficient system for justice, class-action lawsuits have become a vehicle for greed.  While Texas lawmakers have enacted class-action reforms, the need for others to follow our state’s lead is clear.

Read more.

Legal Consumer Guide