Why does Rick Perry want to kick trial lawyers out of Texas and how does that help Texas families?

Candidates for the Republican nomination to run for President in 2012 debated last night, September 12, 2011 and Texas Governor Rick Perry had some interesting commentary on trial lawyers. Governor Perry told the audience that 1 million jobs had been created in Texas under his watch, during which time he implemented tort reform and “kicked trial lawyers out of the state.” As a matter of fact, Gov. Perry specifically told the other candidates (which include two currently sitting governors) to kick the trial lawyers out of their states.

What an interesting philosophy. Trial lawyers are the mechanism through which Texas families have access to the courthouse and the ability to redress their grievances against infinitely more powerful and wealthy foes such as giant corporations or insurance companies with billions of dollars in revenue. It can fairly be said that the right to a jury trial and the ability of a regular citizen to access the courthouse is a cornerstone of American democracy. Why does Gov. Perry want to kick out all of the trial lawyers and how does that help Texan families? The answer to part of that questions is that it doesn’t help Texan families, it hurts them.

The answer to the other part of the question is probably a lot more complex. To help you understand what might motivate Governor Perry to clean house of trial lawyers, you might read Patti Hart’s September 10, 2011 article in the Houston Chronicle documenting the history of the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC).  Houston home builder Bob Perry of Perry Homes (not related to Gov. Rick Perry) has donated more than $2.5 million to Gov. Perry during his tenure as Governor of Texas. Bob Perry was a major advocate of the TRCC during its existence from 2003-2010. One month after Bob Perry donated $100,000 to Governor Rick Perry’s campaign, an attorney named John Krugh, General Counsel for Perry Homes, was appointed to serve on the TRCC. Criticism of the TRCC was plentiful and many viewed the organization as little more than a barrier to the courtroom for Texas families dissatisfied with shoddy building work.