The 'Loser Pays Bill': Yes, You're the Loser

You can probably guess who wins.

Hello, loser: So Republicans in control of the Texas House this week managed to shove through a bunch of bills without debate. This caused a lot of Sturm und Drang—that's German for "really bitchy Tweets"—in the Legislature, chiefly among Democrats who believe the GOP's House supermajority is behaving in a dictatorial and undemocratic (little "d") fashion.

Silly, silly Democrats. Of course the GOPers are behaving like autocrats. Why should Republicans with a supermajority show any respect for opposing viewpoints now? They never did before.

More worrisome is the informal name of the bill that kicked off the hissiness. "Loser pays," it's called. Just who are these losers?

Take a look in the mirror for an answer, Mr. and Mrs. Little Person.

"This is going to hit the middle-class folks right where they live," says N. Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, a consumer advocacy group—or a front organization for Texas trial lawyers, at least according to Texans for Lawsuit Reform, which says the bill will reduce frivolous lawsuits. Of course, some might say TLR is shilling for big business and insurers.

Let's lay out the deal so you can decide: Say a large, wealthy corporation sells you a product that blows up, and you end up looking like the Elephant Man. You sue over your lost good looks. The company says you were already ugly and offers you a low-ball settlement, so you—Mr. Frivolous Elephant Man—take the case to trial. Under current law, if you lose—or win less than 80 percent of the settlement offer—the company can to make you pay part of its legal bills. But you'll never be forced to pay more than your judgment.

Under House Bill 274, forget that whole "never more than" thing. That's gone. If you win, but don't win quite enough, your ugly ass could go bankrupt trying to pay the losing side's lawyers. Think of it as the "Even Winners End Up Losing, Provided They Don't Have Really Deep Pockets" Bill.

As Winslow points out, HB 274 means a middle-class guy suing an insurance company over a denied claim risks losing his kids' college fund, his savings and his shirt if he doesn't settle. It sort of adds the thrill of high-stakes gambling to Texas' civil justice system, but as any poker player knows, you should never sit down to play against a rich guy. You'll just get driven from the table.

Or the justice system, as the case may be.

 
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23 comments
Marty
Marty

It is about time that those people who file frivolous lawsuits be subject to paying the opposing party's legal fees. I believe this will lower the number of baseless lawsuits and I am all for it.

Ryan Warren
Ryan Warren

God I HATE republicans. They are the end-all to America as we know it...

Sroberts999
Sroberts999

Hello, loser: So Democrats in control of the Presidency, House, and Senate managed to shove through sweeping health insurance reform that the country doesn't want. This caused a lot of Sturm und Drang—that's German for "really bitchy Tweets"— around the country, chiefly among Republicans who believe the Democrats supermajority is behaving in a dictatorial and undemocratic (little "d") fashion. Silly, silly Republicans. Of course the Democrats are behaving like autocrats. Why should Democrats with a supermajority show any respect for opposing viewpoints now? They never did before.

I thought writing grade school insults about people I don't even know would be more fun. Turns out, it's only fun if - you know - you're in grade school.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

Welcome to the rest of the world. America is the only place in the world where the loser does not pay. Consequently we have more lawyers per capita than any other country and we spend more per capita in court costs. We all pay for those extra lawyers. Businesses pass on court costs to the consumer and Americans pay more in court cost each year than they do in buying new cars. We are the most litigious society in the world.

The big companies and organizations can still bury you in court costs in the current system. That is not going to change. But it should cut down on the frivolous lawsuits.

Trial lawyers and their lobbyist are a major contributors to Democratic politicians. Then you have the environmentalist religions and other leftist filing suit after suit to stop commerce and stifle jobs. So yes Democrats know who butters their bread.

Kryten
Kryten

The politicians who passed it are Scumbags pure & simple & should bew driven from office immediately.....

reality check
reality check

"the company can to make you pay part of its legal bills". Which part? Attorney fees? Paper clips?

Further explanation might be relevant to the reasonableness of the bill.

RealMccoy
RealMccoy

I understand the article to be saying, either way, we all are losers because of this bill. good article. if there is another way for this republican control state to screw us some more, maybe casinos and pollunting the environment is next.

Sick of suits
Sick of suits

This bill may make it harder for some lawsuit-crazy people and lawyers to make a huge pay-day. But if it discourages some frivilous law suits...I'm for it. Tort reform has been needed for a long time, this isn't the whole solution nor is it perfect, but I believe it is useful.

EricDallas
EricDallas

I'm so sick of it being a Rep v Dem thing. Why don't you mention the names of those supporting this bill? You are creating a place for our representatives to hide. Tell us who introduced this bill: If we don't like it, then we can do something to support a different candidate at election time. To say it is simply a republican thing isn't a whole lot of help. I personally don't believe either party, but trying to turn us against one party only gives strength to the other party: it never gets rid of the scum introducing bills that are self serving, and I assure you both parties are equally scum.

When a person runs for president, if his voting record reflects self serving patterns, then that is certainly considered by us when making a decision. Just maybe they will think about their political future if you tell us who it is, instead of just a republican.

Dab111959
Dab111959

Basically this will prevent the accident chaser type attorneys and dishonest bullshit artists from schewinf the good folks in Texas!! Ya'll know who you are you sons a b_ _ _ h_s.

God Bless Texas

A Proud American

shotty
shotty

Why should Republicans with a supermajority show any respect for opposing viewpoints now? They never did before. - just like the Democrats didnt listen to ANYONE on Obamacare right? No Republicans were even talked to about Obamacare. I'm just sayin, both sides do it.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

It would help if you take the time and contact the sponsors of these types of bills and those who are inclined to vote for it. All you have to do is to tell them that you will drag their names across the social media spectrum and that you are organizing block parties to unseat them.You might be surprised at the response you get. It works at Dallas City Hall.

RealProblem
RealProblem

I have been fighting a law suit over someone elses debt, hung on my door of my business, yes that is legal, for someone with my same name but not me. I have spent alot of money defending myself to prevent a judgement. Currently there is no recource to get back my legal costs. Right & Wrong and Legal have nothing in common. Understand that right or wrong, if I do not defend myself a judgement sticks. Crazy deal I hope this new law changes this.

Davematthews
Davematthews

The idea that we live in a Democracy is a sham. We live in a Corporatocracy.

yaa
yaa

all true! Its not loser pay - it Texas families pay the insurance company that has been handing out all the help in getting these folks elected! Big Insurers WIN- Texas families- LOSE!

CEL
CEL

All politicians are the same. They all cheat, lie and steal. Grow up and stop blaming one party over another. People like you are why the morons that run this country get voted in.

Randy
Randy

I find your comment to be illogical first, and second I find it to be inaccurate. Illogical because health insurance and liability for legal costs of lawsuits have very little, if anything, in common. Inaccurate because the majority of Americans have realized that a lot of the changes incorporated in the health insurance reforms are a step in the right direction, according to recent polls. Speak for yourself, and check your facts before you start basing your arguments on assumptions.

GNPSTL
GNPSTL

Just like the politicians who passed the Obama Health Care are Scumbags pure & simple & should be driven from office immediately.;;

RS37
RS37

If you truly believe this you are either (1) an executive at an insurance company or (2) an idiot.

Guest
Guest

Sure they did. They listened to Mitt Romney and John McCain and the National Review and designed a plan that those people said Republicans would support.

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

Rule 13 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides for your attorney's fees if it a matter of mistaken identity.

Brucifer
Brucifer

Considering his points are well reasoned, with specific referecnces to factual basis, it appears you do not understand the definition of either 'obtuse', or 'idiot'. As to the content of the comment by Sroberts, it is apparent to even the most casual observer that Republicans tend to favor interests of corporations over individuals, ESPECIALLY individuals that are not wealthy. Hence their support of the bill referenced in the article, and their opposition to the healthcare reform law.

 
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