Houston Chronicle editorial highly critical of HB 274 tort reform bill

An editorial in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle referred to HB 274 (the so-called “loser pays” legislation currently under consideration by the Texas Senate) as “tort deform.”  The article refers to HB 274 as an “all-out assault” on the ability of individuals and small business owners to take on big business interests in Texas’ civil courts. You can and should read the Chronicle article by clicking here, and immediately contact your state senator and tell him or her what you think of HB 274. Here is a link to a directory of Texas’ 31 senators.

HB 274 is a major windfall for big business interests and the insurance industry. If HB 274 passes in the senate and becomes law, individuals and small businesses who might otherwise have put their case in the hands of 12 jurors will be put in a situation where they technically win at trial, yet find themselves on the hook for the Defendant’s litigation costs which would include: court costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, deposition costs and fees for not more than two expert witnesses. The bill will put Plaintiff’s in the position of on one hand risking financial ruin in they choose to go to trial or on the other hand accepting a settlement offer that is too low.

Here are some links to other stories on HB 274 and how it will affect individuals and small businesses in Texas:

Legislature loses its way with ‘loser pays’ blow-up The Dallas Morning News Editorial, May 9, 2010

‘Loser pays’ is false advertising Houston Chronicle, May 10, 2011

Why “Loser Pays” is a Loser Texas Tribune, May 13, 2011