Texas is not a vanguard for deflecting legitimate lawsuits ( Have the Scales of Justice Been Tipped to Businesses?, Wichita Falls Times Record News, June 29). Even after years of reforms, there is virtually nothing unique about Texas civil justice laws. However, we are unique in a few respects.
Texas was the first state to pass a statute allowing its citizens to sue managed care companies for denied or delayed care. We pioneered consumer protections from misrepresentations and deceptive sales tactics. Texas has perhaps the nations strongest insurance bad faith protections.
The slew of reforms passed in 1995 simply reigned in the frivolous, fraudulent and excessive. Our civil justice laws are now in line with those of other states. With few exceptions, plaintiffs can no longer reach into the wrong pockets for compensation. People and companies are now responsible for their actions and not everyone elses.
Because of the publics disdain, less junk lawsuits are being filed. However, that tells us nothing about how many claims are made and paid. Most claims settle before any legal papers are filed; the vast majority settle before trial.
Fact is, we continue to sue more and more about less and less, and we pay for lawsuit abuse through hidden liability costs built in to nearly every product and service we buy.
Jon Opelt, Executive Director
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse/Houston