NUTTY LAWSUITS ARE NO LAUGHING MATTER

— Frivolous Lawsuits Cost Jobs —

AUSTIN, TEXAS—A “nutty” lawsuit filed in U.S. Federal Court in Brownsville highlights the need for continued vigilance to ensure civil courts are used for justice, not greed, according to the Rio Grande Valley Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, a grassroots consumer and small business-led group dedicated to educating the public about the cost and consequences of lawsuit abuse.

A woman is seeking more than $1 million after she allegedly fell as a result of peanut shells on the floor of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Harlingen, according to media reports and a civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in late July. The Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain is known for providing peanuts to their patrons and encouraging shells to be discarded on the tables and floor as a part of the fun family atmosphere.

“While there is certainly an element of humor in ‘nutty’ cases like this one, frivolous lawsuits are no laughing matter,” said Febe Zepeda, executive director of Rio Grande Valley Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. “Lawsuits like this one signal that in spite of great progress in Texas to advance lawsuit reform, there’s still work to be done to ensure our courts are used for justice, not greed.”

Frivolous lawsuits are especially costly for small and mid-size businesses and their families. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform estimates that more than one-third of small business owners have been sued. Approximately seven in ten small business owners say that a lawsuit would force them to reduce benefits for employees or hold back on hiring.

Zepeda added, “When it comes to frivolous lawsuits, we all pay a price. They clog our courts and delay legitimate claims. They cost jobs by burdening businesses – both small and large – with enormous legal expenses to defend against these sorts of cases. There are no winners when lawsuit abuse happens.”

To raise awareness about the perils of frivolous lawsuits and their impact on jobs and families, the RGV CALA and Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) will be sharing packages of peanuts labeled, “Nutty Lawsuits Cost Jobs,” with their members and at upcoming public events across Texas.

The organization says that frivolous lawsuits like the Texas Roadhouse suit also should serve as a good reminder for the public to respond to the call when summoned for jury service. Jury service, according to Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse, is one way that Texans can step and do their part to stop frivolous lawsuits.

If you’ve seen a nutty lawsuit effecting your business or community, reach out to Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse at www.tala.com.

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About CALA

With more than 25,000 supporters, Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is a community-based, grassroots 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 the Rio Grande Valley, East Texas, Central Texas, and Corpus Christi, and across the country.