Posts Tagged ‘CALA in the News’

Keep fighting lawsuit abuse

via San Antonio Express News

Texas has been on the front lines in the battle against the abuse of our lawsuit system, ensuring it is used for justice, not greed.

Years ago, Texas was known as the “Courthouse of the World” because our lawsuit system invited junk lawsuits, and our system was clogged with abusive lawsuits filed by lawyers who flocked here for personal gain.

Seeing how this abuse hurt our economy, everyday Texans demanded reform, which led to reforms restoring fairness and common sense to our lawsuit system.

But when your opponents are well-funded trial lawyers, you cannot rest on past success. Seeking a return to the old days, trial lawyers have found loopholes and work-arounds to the reforms.

For all the progress Texas has seen over the past decade with these reforms, there remains much work to be done. During the 2015 legislative session, our state representatives must pass additional reforms to preserve our stellar reputation for a legal climate that promotes job creation, new investment and economic growth.

One of the areas where trial lawyers have found a new way to abuse the system is by exploiting a loophole in laws governing who can file lawsuits in Texas courts. This loophole risks taking Texas back to the days when it was the “Courthouse to the World.”

A bill to fix this, HB 1692, is pending in the legislature. It would close this loophole and ensure that the lawsuits brought in Texas belong in our courts. This would also prevent Texas citizens from being denied justice because a court is clogged by cases that do not belong here.

Beyond the onslaught of lawsuits filed here under questionable jurisdiction and standing, there is evidence of abuse elsewhere in the lawsuit system.

Consider what a lawsuit abuse watchdog group found following two hailstorms in Hidalgo County in the spring of 2012.

A study commissioned by the Rio Grande Valley Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse found that nearly half of all hailstorm lawsuits were filed in March and April of 2014, as the statute of limitations neared.

Of the 5,740 hailstorm cases filed in Hidalgo County, 2,513 were filed in March and April of 2014. Even more troubling, the study revealed that this rush involved a small number of law firms.

Finally, we are watching developments on a move to increase the number of jurors in county court at law cases – from six to 12 — in civil cases where more than $200,000 is in dispute, a smart move that will create consistency across our court system.

Two decades after the legal reform movement was born in Texas, those in the trenches know we have to remain vigilant. A lawsuit system free of abusive lawsuits ensures access to speedy trials for legitimate claims, and that encourages civic participation on juries, which is good for every Texan.

Hazel Meaux is with Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse.

 

CALA: Cruz response to jury duty should be applauded

Via the Southeast Texas Record

Editor’s note: Sen. Ted Cruz returned to Harris County on Jan. 9 to respond to a jury summons. As a member of the Senate, Cruz could have gotten an exemption from service.

Dear editor:

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) applauds Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for answering the call for jury service. Despite being federally exempt from jury duty, Cruz took the time to show up and stress the importance of this bedrock civic duty.

Unfortunately, not every citizen places such value on this civic duty. While nearly 90 percent of Texans believe serving on a jury is important, in some counties, a recent CALA study found that an astounding 85 percent of those summoned do not report.

Obviously we’re talking the talk but not walking the walk when it actually comes to showing up to serve.

Jury no-shows jeopardize justice. Every citizen should do his or her part to bring fairness and balance to the civil justice system by serving on a jury when called.

Sincerely,

Hazel Meaux, Board member, Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse, Austin 

LETTER: Cruz jury service

The Pasadena Citizen

 

Dear editor:

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) applauds Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for answering the call for jury service. Despite being federally exempt from jury duty, Cruz took the time to show up and stress the importance of this bedrock civic duty.

Unfortunately, not every citizen places such value on this civic duty. While nearly 90 percent of Texans believe serving on a jury is important, in some counties, a recent CALA study found that an astounding 85 percent of those summoned do not report.

Obviously we’re talking the talk but not walking the walk when it actually comes to showing up to serve.

Jury no-shows jeopardize justice. Every citizen should do his or her part to bring fairness and balance to the civil justice system by serving on a jury when called.

Sincerely,

Hazel Meaux

Board Member, Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse

Opinion: Crazy California courts an issue as Texas companies expand reach

Via the Austin Business Journal

By: Jill Shackelford

Over the past two decades, Texas has created one of the most respected legal climates in the country. From being known as a “judicial hellhole” to becoming a beacon for meaningful reform, Texas has designed a blueprint for spurring economic success, while at the same time maintaining access to our courts and even increasing access to vital services such as health care.

While Texas has continued to pave the way for thoughtful reform, other states have gone the opposite direction, continuing to encourage lawsuit abuse that costs jobs. California, which has been named the nation’s worst “judicial hellhole” two years in a row by the American Tort Reform Association, has consistently seen jobs migrate to the Lone Star State due to California’s ever-increasing cost of doing business. One of the main drivers of the Golden State’s problems is its toxic legal climate.

In short: Texas’ legal climate is at the top of its game, while California’s remains under the thumb of personal injury lawyers.

So, why are we worried?

Abusive lawsuits from California continue to impact Texas-based businesses. From Austin-based Whole Foods Market Inc., which got sucked into California-based lawsuits this past summer, to the ever-popular Austin-based Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which was recently hit with a lawsuit regarding its very name, Texas employers continually are forced to shell out countless dollars fighting lawsuits.

Such detrimental lawsuits illustrate precisely why we must maintain a vigilant presence in and around the Texas Legislature to ensure personal injury lawyers fail in their attempts to turn back the clock on our reforms.
And make no mistake: Some personal injury lawyers want nothing more than to undo these reforms that have hamstrung their ability to profit from questionable legal practices, and they have not wavered in their attempts to funnel millions of dollars into political races across our state. From funding fellow personal injury lawyers in Republican primaries to recently dumping a cool half-million in a competitive Texas Senate race, some personal injury lawyers are working tirelessly to recreate California’s detrimental legal climate in Texas.

The next time you head to the grocery store, or purchase your favorite mixed drink, remember that your pocketbook is taking a hit because of these lawsuits from the West Coast and elsewhere. Moreover, when you’re in the voting booth, it’s important to know where candidates stand on these important issues. If some personal injury lawyers are successful in their efforts to derail reform, they will make California’s lawsuit lunacy the new normal in Texas.

Jill Shackelford is chairwoman of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas.