ARLINGTON, Va., May 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, by a unanimous and bipartisan vote of 31-0, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 19—a comprehensive reform bill to reduce frivolous and abusive lawsuits targeting commercial motor vehicles. The bill’s passage earned widespread praise from the trucking industry and a broad coalition of supporters from every corner of the Texas economy, who say reforms like HB 19 are needed to prevent a growing trend of lawsuit abuse that has sent insurance levels skyrocketing to unsustainable levels, putting enormous strain on the supply chain.
«Despite the plaintiff bar’s best efforts to lie about and distort the contents of this bill, the Texas Senate took a resoundingly bipartisan vote today to curb lawsuit abuse and restore balance and fairness to the civil justice system,» said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. «Texas has joined the growing ranks of states across the country pursuing common-sense measures to ensure the plaintiffs’ bar can’t keep perverting civil justice into a profit center to line their own pockets.»
Among other provisions, HB 19 ensures juries are presented with evidence that is directly relevant to causation and injuries in a highway accident and ensures the case is focused on the events at issue—not on extraneous allegations outside the scope of the underlying accident. The trucking industry says targeted reforms like these will help remove the incentives driving abusive lawsuits and fueling a spike in nuclear verdicts.
«With the unanimous passage of House Bill 19, the trial process will continue to ensure accident victims are compensated when wrongfully injured, while also protecting businesses across the state from biased and unfair courtroom tactics,» said Texas Trucking Association President and CEO John Esparza. «Thank you to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick for recognizing the serious threat abusive lawsuits have on the Texas economy and naming this issue as one of his priority items this legislative session.»
The industry is encouraging the Texas House of Representatives to concur with the Senate-backed bill, so that the legislation can be sent to Governor Greg Abbott and signed into law.
Texas becomes the latest state in recent months to pass lawsuit abuse reforms, including Montana, West Virginia, Louisiana and Missouri. In neighboring Louisiana, rampant lawsuit abuse attracted the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as organized crime rings staged dozens of accidents with unwitting tractor-trailers as a pretext to sue them in court. Last November, personal injury attorney Daniel Patrick Keating was indicted for his leadership role in the lawsuit racket. The Louisiana State Legislature is now considering legislation to criminalize staged accidents.
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter, Facebook, or at Trucking Moves America Forward.
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SOURCE American Trucking Associations