Chuck Norris
Last week, President Obama came to my home state of Texas calling for immigration reform. He should have also rallied citizens for tort reform, which is a hot issue right now around the country and in Texas politics in particular.

I've deferred (or better, repackaged) Part 2 of my article on bullies to oppose some real-life legal bullies -- those sue-happy individuals (serial litigants) who tie up and abuse our court systems and civil rights to oppress and take from their victims (defendants).

These corrupt plaintiffs often initiate frivolous lawsuits because they know most defendants will settle out of court rather than endure the expenses of a trial. The Point of Law website says that "well over 90 percent of cases settle out of court before a final legal resolution" -- a fact that serial litigants are counting on.

Black's Law Dictionary says a tort is a "private or civil law wrong or injury, other than breach of contract, for which the court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages." Tort law, therefore, is a body of law created through judges and by legislatures that is applied by courts in civil cases dealing with torts. (The term "tort" has its origin from the Latin term (SET ITAL) torquere, (END ITAL) meaning "twist, twisted or wrong.")

As in most states across our union, Texas is in a battle for tort reform because of the serial litigants who take legal action for issues like getting too many kernels in their movie popcorn or not having toilet paper in a restaurant bathroom.

The travesty of these cases and the need for tort reform is bottled up in the fact that defendants are subpoenaed to court and, even when they win their cases, have to pay the tens of thousands (and often hundreds of thousands) of dollars it cost to defend themselves against outrageous and often bizarre accusations. And if they choose to settle out of court, because it cost less than the legal fees to go to court, they still get the shaft.

I know firsthand because I, too, have been the victim of these frivolous lawsuits.

For example, in the 1980s, I had a family restaurant in Newport Beach, Calif. On average, I would encounter one frivolous lawsuit a month.

One such case was two women who got into a fight in the ladies' restroom. They sued me, saying someone should have been in there to break it up! (Yes, that is a true story -- frivolous and completely ridiculous.) It cost me $2,000 to pay each plaintiff to drop the complaint, which was cheaper than fighting the lawsuit.


Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris is a columnist and impossible to kill.