Consumer groups have been increasingly critical of the Texas Supreme Court for failing to override the legislature and create new grounds to sue. Unfortunately, these critics often mischaracterize the role of judges and juries.
It is not, and never has been, the role of juries to create law. Juries decide fact questions within the context of existing law. Judges cannot give instructions to juries if the legislature has not defined the law. Our current high court has not seen fit to hold defendants responsible for dollar damages when their conduct was within the law.
If we, as a society, think our liability laws should be expanded, then we should call on our legislators to do so. However, it is misguided criticism to expect judges and juries to assume a legislative role that was never theirs.
Jon Opelt, Executive Director
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse/Houston