Another frivolous lawsuit happened in Dallas, where the plaintiffs were demanding $175,000 in compensation. After talking to my attorney, he advised me that we could easily win the lawsuit, but it would cost me about $250,000 to fight it.
So, I just paid the $175,000 to save $75,000 in legal fees. It was very frustrating to have to hand over the money just in order to settle a ridiculous lawsuit that had no merit.
If you've fallen prey to the same type of crazy lawsuits, have no fear -- loser-pays tort reform is here!
What loser-pays tort reform is all about is forcing these serial litigants to pay for the defendants' legal fees if they lose their case. Last Monday, May 9, the Texas House approved House Bill 274, which requires plaintiffs to do just that. This week, the Texas Senate will hear arguments to determine whether the bill deserves its final approval.
Gov. Rick Perry was correct when he said in a press release last week, "This legislation will also protect Texas jobs and stimulate economic opportunity by relieving Texans and employers of the costs and burdens created by frivolous and drawn-out lawsuits."
This legislation would make the legal system less of a drag on the economy as well as less of a weapon for pilfering wealth. In addition, judges would be further restricted from taking advantage of their sworn duties by unilaterally legislating from the bench in areas that haven't first been approved by the state legislature. Mostly, this legislation will cut down on bogus lawsuits and discourage unfounded and groundless litigation.
I'm opposed to limiting anyone's civil rights, liberties or due process, and loser-pays tort reform will not do that. But in a greedy, sue-happy nation like ours, such legal change is definitely overdue in every state. Frivolous lawsuits are tying up the entire U.S. legal system, hurting our economy and costing jobs everywhere.
If Texas passes loser-pays tort reform, which I encourage all legislatures to do, then the Lone Star State will join Alaska, Oklahoma and Oregon in applying this true English (Prevailing Party) Rule to many civil lawsuits.
Texas resident Mark Whittington, who also writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, echoes well why tort reform hasn't been passed in other states: "... one reason that loser pays has not been more widely enacted in the United States is that the American bar is very powerful and jealously defends what ... is a lucrative industry. Contingency fee lawyers can make a considerable amount of money in filing legal actions, even if sometimes the cases are weak."
I can't roundhouse every junk lawsuit out of Texas or your state, but there is something we all can do to stand up to the trial lawyers and serial litigants. We can support loser-pays tort reform.
Like in Austin, representatives in your state's legislature are undoubtedly working right now to make tort reform a reality -- but they can't do it alone. They need to hear from you. Call your representatives and senators, and ask them to help us round up the trial lawyers and lottery litigants by supporting loser-pays tort reform.
For more information and to sign a petition in favor of loser pays tort reform, go to Americans for Job Security website (www.savejobs.org/stop_the_frivolous_lawsuits.php).
To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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