Monday, May 9, 2011

"Loser Pays" Bill: Where is the Lawyer Outrage?

Drama hit the Texas House floor in a rare Saturday session, as Republicans worked to suspend rules to push a handful of bills through the process quickly.

HB 274 , is the latest of Gov. Rick Perry’s emergency items and the most controversial. The measure would force plaintiffs who lose their lawsuits to pay the legal fees of the big business defendants. Democrats scoffed at the one-sided legislation they say protects big corporations but not the “little man” seeking to sue them. If the defendant loses, the plaintiffs still have to pay their own legal expenses.

With a vote of 86-11 (with three present but not voting), Republicans had the exact 100 members needed to pass motions and bills, pushing HB 274 to a vote with no amendments or debate. Shortly after, the House passed the bill 89-12.

Despite the fact that this bill is probably unconstitutional and rips the teeth out of the last consumer-protection safeguards in Texas, the public is hearing very little outcry from personal injury lawyers. Why?

"I think a lot of us are hoping it will never make it past a Senate vote," says personal injury attorney Wade Moriarty. "But then again in 2003 we never thought the medical malpractice bill would pass either."

Moriarty says there are already plenty of defense tools to weed out frivolous lawsuits. in addition with the time and expense that it takes to bring a lawsuit against big business, the argument that there are too many frivolous lawsuit s rings hollow.

"It seems to me, the governor won't be happy until he can get rid of every single lawsuit against big business."

So where is the outcry against this seemingly unconstitutional bill from the public and trial lawyers? Moriarty believes the public doesn't understand the threat against their rights and trial lawyers are afraid to loudly oppose the legislation for fear of being accused of protecting the right to bring frivolous lawsuits.

Let's hope the State Senate understands the true threat against Texan's rights and moves to stop this destructive legislation before its too late.

Watch this very astute yet satirical explanation of Loser Pays.

No comments: