Through the passage of groundbreaking tort reform legislation that addressed medical malpractice, venue shopping, asbestos lawsuit abuse and other legal inequities, TAB helped bring balance to the Texas civil justice system. As a result of that legislation, the Texas economy is thriving.
Although Texas is a shining example of what others can do to reform their civil justice systems, we will still have battles to maintain our hard-fought reforms and correct additional burdens on the system, including insurance litigation abuse. The 85th Legislative Session should be no exception to the attack by trial lawyers to change the tide and bring more litigation to Texas. TAB will remain diligent in protecting these critical reforms and continue to fight for the following priorities:
Alternative Dispute Resolution. Support legislation that creates mechanisms and incentives for the use of alternative dispute resolution.
Civil Justice Reforms. Protect the comprehensive tort reform measures passed by the Texas Legislature that have gone a long way to building a fair, balanced civil justice system in Texas.
Civil Penalties. Texas currently has over 1,500 statutes that result in civil penalties, some of which are burdensome for business. Support efforts to lessen or repeal various civil penalties throughout the various codes.
Court Reorganization. Support reorganizing Texas’ court system to allow for more uniform jurisdiction for Texas Courts.
Hail Abuse. Support legislation to end rampant hailstorm lawsuit abuse and remove the incentive for trial lawyers to manufacture lawsuits, while allowing for continued consumer protection.
Insurance Litigation (Health). Support legislation to reduce litigation related to prompt pay penalties, which ultimately result in higher health insurance premiums for employers and consumers.
Insurance Litigation (Property & Casualty). Support revisions in the Texas Insurance Code that would:
- • Limit the amount of legal fees that an attorney can recover in statutory actions;
- • Limit the statutes of limitations for insured property damage claims to two years from the loss event;
- • Require alternative dispute resolution between the property owners and their insurance companies when there is a difference of opinion on the value of the underlying property damage;
- • Mandate a standard appraisal process to resolve disputes, with appropriate measures taken to insure that the umpires selected to mediate differences between the property owner’s appraiser and the insurer’s appraisers are qualified and unbiased; and
- • Remove the provision requiring insurance companies to pay an 18 percent interest rate on total property losses if the damages awarded to the homeowner are higher than the amount deemed reasonable by the insurance company as a result of mediation or court litigation. This provision could be replaced with a lower and reasonable interest rate equivalent to amounts earned on financial instruments, subject to a minimum of five percent and a maximum of ten percent.
Judicial Selection. Support legislation that creates a mechanism for the merit selection and non-partisan retention election of qualified jurists.
Jury Service. Support legislation to reform jury service requirements to streamline the process and encourage jury service.
Legal Ethics Reform. Support legislation to ensure that the process for disciplining lawyers is effective to prevent abuse.
Medical Malpractice. Protect legislative reforms enacted to address rising medical malpractice insurance costs.
Patent Reform. Support patent reform at the state level to stop abusive patent litigation from harming Texas business. Patents are essential to innovation, and Texas needs to protect its current technology-based companies, as well as attract new ones. While legitimate patent infringement litigation is necessary to the protection of intellectual property, abusive patent litigation diverts valuable resources and focus away from research and development, hiring new employees, releasing new products or expanding a business to the internet.
Special Courts. Support legislation to allow the Texas Supreme Court to create special courts and/or assign cases to specific courts in matters requiring medical or technical expertise.
Statutes of Limitation. Oppose attempts to amend current law to extend statutes of limitations or timetables for filing a lawsuit.