Tort Reform in Texas

Hopefully you will get to read this article in Texas Monthly before this link is gone. It describes what happened to the people of Texas because of tort reform.

Here is a description of what happened to one family who was looking for a plaintiff’s lawyer to handle a medical malpractice case:

“They saw the first [lawyer] last December. He explained the realities: The facts of the case looked promising, but because their mother was retired, they would have a hard time getting any lawyer to take the case. It was, essentially, the same story Kelly Reddell had told Alvin Berry: Anyone who didn’t work-the elderly, homemakers, or children-was looking at a cap on noneconomic damages of $250,000. Trying such cases was simply not cost-effective for the lawyer or the client. (“It’s an assault on those who are the most vulnerable,” one plaintiff’s attorney told me. “It’s almost legal malpractice to take those cases.”)

David contacted about fifteen lawyers and was turned down by all of them. One letter explained why: “Unfortunately, many of your legal rights have been taken away by state laws proposed and lobbied for by insurance, HMO, and corporate interests,” the lawyer wrote. “You and your family deserve better from the Texas government.” The lawyer suggested that David contact a citizens’ advocacy group and state officials.”

The article also makes this point: “If lower awards limit the number of cases a good lawyer can afford to take, the remainder of cases will fall to less competent lawyers, who, if they take a case at all, will most likely win much lower settlements for their clients or, more likely, not win at all.”

Thanks Bob Kraft for informing me about this article.