Texas is the envy of other states for a lot of reasons. We have a good quality of life, low taxes, a friendly business climate, and a commitment to consistently improving our justice system. That’s why it comes as no surprise that Chief Executive Magazine recently named Texas the “Best Place in the Nation to do Business” for the seventh year in a row! Texas stands in stark contrast to a state like California, which recently sent a delegation of lawmakers to our state to see what we’re doing right and why some California companies are relocating in Texas. California ranks dead last in Chief Executive’s most recent ranking.
One characteristic that keeps Texas on top is the fact that we don’t rest when we get there. We keep expanding the definition of what it means to be the best. The Texas House and Senate recently approved a proposal that will help improve our already nationally renowned civil justice system. House Bill 274 will fortify Texas’ reputation for embracing policies that ensure local courts are used for justice, not greed. Commonly referred to as the “Loser Pays” bill, this proposal includes several smart reforms that will result in fewer frivolous lawsuits, fair and honest settlements, and financial protections for both sides of a case. According to its authors, H.B. 274 should allow for the efficient resolution of certain civil lawsuits while reducing the overall costs of the civil justice system and making our courts more accessible, more efficient, and less costly to all Texas taxpayers.
These reforms are important because businesses of all sizes (and the workers they employ) have suffered at the hands of aggressive personal injury lawyers who file suits that cast a wide net and target many companies – including some companies that should never be part of the suit in the first place. Research, preparation and mounting a defense takes enormous amounts of time and resources – even for cases that should never have been filed. Without these reforms our courts can continue to be clogged by lawsuits that are filed indiscriminately, which delays or denies justice for citizens with legitimate claims and concerns.
AT ETALA, and other legal watchdog groups, we were pleased that Texas lawmakers supported this important, consensus legislation. Legal reforms have brought us a long way from our notorious past as the Wild West of lawsuit abuse. Make no mistake, reforms have worked for Texas and made us a national poster child for how improvements to a state civil justice system can help grow its economy. Thanks in no small part to legal reforms, Texas attracts business and capital investments from across the globe. Our state leads the way in job creation year after year. And we are home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state.
House Bill 274 should help us further rid our courts of junk lawsuits and continue to ensure that Texas courts are used for justice, not greed. Even the best place in the nation to do business can find ways to improve on first place.
By Diane Davis.
Davis is the executive director of East Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse, which is based in Longview.