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'Loser Pays' Bill in Texas Just 3 Signatures Away from Becoming Law

The introduction of a "loser pays" system in any U.S. jurisdiction sounds like the type of pie-in-the-sky proposal that creates lots of headlines but never ends up happening. But Texas Lawyer's Tex Parte Blog reports that a "loser pays" bill in Texas was passed by the Texas House Wednesday night in a 130-13 vote and will become law if it receives three more signatures: those of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Gov. Rick Perry.

Groups that had taken opposing sides on the issue of "loser pays," such as Texans for Lawsuit Reform and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, have reportedly "lined up in support of Committee Substitute House Bill 274." If the bill becomes law, it is set to become effective on Sept. 1, 2011.

According to Texas Lawyer, some of the key provisions of House Bill 274 include:

  • early dismissal of meritless suits, i.e., suits deemed to have "no basis in law or fact." In some cases, courts will decide motions to dismiss before hearing evidence on the claims;
  • a 45-day deadline for courts to rule on motions to dismiss;
  • an award of costs and attorney fees to prevailing parties if a meritless suit is dismissed (with an exception for the government); and
  • the Texas Supreme Court shall make rules to limit discovery costs and expedite suits through the justice system for all claims less than $100,000.

For more on Texas H.B. 274, visit this link.

Posted by Bruce Carton on May 26, 2011 at 04:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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