Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

5005 Riverway Drive, Suite 450 • Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Governor Perry’s Push for Tort Reform in Texas

Chief Executive magazine and many American businesses list Texas as the best state in the union for business, and a big reason for our high ranking is recent tort reforms and other changes to lawsuits that put businesses on the defensive. In his over 11 years as leader of the state, Governor Rick Perry has signed medical malpractice reform, class action lawsuit reform, product liability reform and, this past summer, another part of tort reform.

Several months ago, Perry and the Texas Senate in a unanimous vote adopted a “loser pays” system that is a common element of tort reform. In this system, plaintiffs who bring lawsuits that are judged frivolous must pay the legal fees of the other side. This discourages frivolous lawsuits, tort reform supporters argue. In Texas, there is also a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages like pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The cap does not apply to economic damages (medical bills, for example), but as we discussed with the Gourley family on Wednesday, the economic damages may not adequately cover a family with special needs children. Additionally, lower punitive awards are not as much of a threat to wrongdoers. In a medical malpractice case, for example, consider whether a hospital would be more willing to enact change if they faced a several thousand-dollar fine versus if they faced multi-million dollar jury verdicts and negative publicity.

With caps in place, families that are the victim of another’s negligence will have to look elsewhere for financial support. And, with less of a threat hanging over negligent corporations, more, not fewer, Texas families are likely to go through the same ordeal in the future. For couples who divorce, child support and the proceeds from a lawsuit may still not be enough to provide for each spouse and their children.

Has your family received financial support from a negligence lawsuit? How has tort reform in Texas impacted your financial situation?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

No Comment

Comments are closed.