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Governor Perry Touts "Loser Pays" in Houston

Texas Governor Rick Perry was in Houston today touting two new bills supporting a “loser pays” system. Promoters of the law say by making the loser of a civil lawsuit pay, it would discourage unnecessary and costly lawsuits. Bill Stamps has more.


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Rick Perry speaking in Houston
Gov. Perry: Lawsuit Reforms will Expedite Justice for Legitimate Claims and Help Strengthen Texas. Image courtesy of the Governor’s Office.

If you talk to some businesspeople or doctors, they’ll tell you when it comes to lawsuits, things have gotten out of hand. They’ll tell you it’s hard to do anything without worrying about getting sued.

On the other side are people who believe the right to file suit should stay as is because it give families and individuals a way to get back at the big guy.

Chip Huff owns an industrial maintenance companies that’s been named in a number of large lawsuits that were all eventually dismissed, but by then he says the financial damage was done.

“Those lawsuits were filed against and names me and hundreds of other companies that had no business being in those lawsuits.”

Huff says the money he spent could have been used for jobs, training, improved benefits.

Governor Rick Perry and some Texas lawmakers believe a “loser pays” system would discourage such lawsuits or at least make the loser pay for the costs.

“Owners are forced to deal with mounting legal fees, court costs and they haven’t done anything wrong. I mean that’s the staggering thing for me. Texas is one of the few states in the nation that doesn’t allow for an early dismissal of a clearly frivolous lawsuit.”

There are currently two bills before the Texas legislature that would implement the “loser pays” system. One is in the house and the other, on the Senate side. Representative Brandon Creighton of Montgomery County is one of the sponsors.

“All Texans should be able to have their day in court without a doubt. No one is here to say anything but that, but that right must be balanced against the responsibility of bringing a reasonable legal claim.”

Craig McDonald is director of Texas for Public Justice. He doesn’t believe there are as many frivolous lawsuits as opponents claim and he says the threat of lawsuits is what makes this country one of the safest in the world.

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