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« Unconventional speech planned for grads of St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio | Main | Retired Chief Justice Tom Phillips and wife reach tentative settlement with plaintiffs in wrongful-death suit, say lawyers for both »

May 13, 2011

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Texas Insurance

Awe comeon guys, insurance is cool :)

William Shepherd

Texas Republicans Still Don’t Get It! "Loser Pays" Hurts Them More Than Democrats!

Last week, I reported that the vast majority of Texas Republicans will be harmed - not helped - if Gov. Rick Perry’s “Loser Pays” law is passed. The conversation quickly turned to this fact in publications and on the Internet. Over the weekend, a compromise was reached in a Texas senate committee which then voted unanimously to turn out a bill for the Senate to consider. However, that BILL DOES NOTHING TO PROTECT REPUBLICANS FROM THEIR OWN PARTY!

Whether or not frivolous lawsuits abound in Texas is a matter of debate. The senate bill gives judges the ability to dismiss cases sooner with the “loser,” one side or the other, paying the other side’s legal fees and costs. Despite the fact that frivolous defenses to lawsuits would not be handled the same way, arguments could perhaps be made on both sides of the early dismissal provision.

Yet, the provision which will harm Republicans more than Democrats remains in the proposed senate bill.

I repeat that the vast majority of Republicans are more conservative and save money which they DO NOT WANT TO GAMBLE! I will add that there are apparently more Republicans in Texas than there are Democrats. Republicans do not want Texans to file frivolous lawsuits, but absolutely must have the ability to file their own valid lawsuits if they are treated wrongly. If not, why would insurance companies, financial institutions and large corporations bother to treat them right? There would be no downside and they can simply walk all over Texans of all parties!

Forced into Cheap Settlements (THE HUGE REMAINING PROBLEM WITH THIS BILL)

ATTENTION Mr. AND Mrs. REPUBLICAN: If a billion dollar corporation cheats you out of $200,000, you need the ability to file a claim to recover your losses. You may agree to settle for less, but what if you were only offered $5,000? If you declined, went to trial and lost (*) you would not only get zero, but YOU WOULD HAVE TO PAY AN AMOUNT WHICH COULD EVEN BE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS! (* Ask any lawyer: The outcome of any lawsuit is unpredictable and for a variety of reasons many legitimate cases are lost.)

Could you afford to gamble hundreds of thousands of dollars on a law suit? Likely not, so you would instead have to accept the $5,000 offer, a bitter pill to swallow. This is similar to being dealt a fantastic hand in a friendly "penny-ante" poker game only to have some rich stranger raise you $100,000. Your hand is an almost certain winner but you can't afford the risk so, sadly, you must lay down the winning hand.

“Loser Pays” is perhaps OK for billionaires and multi-millionaires but bad for everyone else!

If your house burns down and the insurance company says "the policy doesn't cover this," could you risk your life savings seeking to collect the money denied by your insurance company? What if your bank is careless causing your account to be robbed? If your parents are gypped out of half their retirement savings, could they risk the other half to file a claim against Wall Street?

Small business owners: Could you risk bankruptcy to sue a contractor who did not pay you or a supplier who delivers faulty inventory or equipment? Big companies can risk and having to pay the other side if they lose, but can you? If the answer is “no,” prepare to be at their mercy in court and to have to settle for peanuts.

"Winners pay too!"

The senate committee tweaked the house bill but included that under this "loser pays" legislation you could even win a legitimate law suit, but lose all you won by being ordered to pay this to the other side. In the example above, if an insurance company, financial institution or large corporation offered $100,000 but even if you won, but won less than $80,000, you would have to pay up to all that you won to cover the cost of their high priced lawyers!

A world without law suits may sound good, but would it be? If “Loser Pay’s” passes, insurance companies, banks and large companies would be practically immune from law suits. So, how do you think will they treat us all then? REPUBLICANS: Contact your representative and senator in Austin today and say: "HEY, I VOTED FOR YOU! YOU NEED TO REPRESENT MEN AND NOT JUST INSURANCE COMPANIES, GIANT CORPORATIONS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS!

Our law firm represents institutions and individuals in claims against financial institutions for securities fraud or other wrongful acts, and for mismanagement of retirement or other investment accounts.

William S. Shepherd, JD LLM
Founder of the Firm

RD

This law should have nothing to do with republicans- or Texans for lawsuit abuse. It should also not have anything to do with democrats- or the Texas trial lawyers. It should be about FAIRNESS! There is no "frivolous lawsuit" problem, according to our leading jurists and unbiased legal observers. I do not know what the agenda is for TLR and I am also not member of the Texas Trial Lawyers. Both are very expensive to belong to and are radical "I want it all" selfish groups. I regularly try lawsuits from accidents that insurance companies promised to cover, but would not pay. They will not pay, because the legislature and courts are presently stacked with republicans and they are not afraid. However, you can count on the judges to eventually do the right thing- they have not abused the "no evidence summary judgment" created by the LAST round of TLR influenced tort reform. What we need is for the trial lawyers association AND the texans for lawsuit reform to go away and let ELECTED representatives (from both sides of the isle) do the right thing for the citizens of our great State! Our governor should stop putting "carrots" out there like this to attract foreign businesses- they will come here anyway! We are smart enough to figure this out and do the right thing for Texas. Enough of this partisan bickering and waste of money! Get to work!

William Shepherd

"Loser Pays" in Texas: A very bad law for 99% of Texas Republicans!

Many liberals are broke while conservatives tend to save their money. The Texans who would lose most under this bill are those who have worked hard to set aside money they can't afford to lose. Most of these People
are Republicans.

The Bill:

Out of state groups pushing laws through state legislatures nationwide are funding this effort in Texas to prevent law suits against insurance companies, financial institutions and large companies. Governor Perry and many Texas legislators are railroading this so-called "loser pays" bill which ironically will damage and deny rights to the vast majority of Republicans in Texas.

This law is hailed as a way to stop "frivolous lawsuits," but is really designed to kill virtually all cases filed by any Texan who is not a multi-millionaire! That includes the vast majority of Texas Republicans, many of whom are small business owners.

Most people don't know that several laws and court rules are on the books in Texas that address "frivolous" lawsuits. These are being used to penalize those who file such cases and even their lawyers. Mission
accomplished, right? Well, not for big-business funded groups who now want to make legitimate - even sure-winner - law suits cost prohibitive for the average Texan.

Forced into Cheap Settlements:

The plan would work this way: If a billion dollar corporation flat cheated you out of $200,000, you should be able to file a case to recover your losses. To avoid a lengthy lawsuit you might agree to settle for
less, but what if the corporation only offered $5,000? If you go to trial and happen to lose the case, you would not only get zero, but would also have to pay an amount which could be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Could you afford to take that gamble? Likely not, so you will have to take the $5,000 offer form the company, a bitter pill.

This is similar to being in a friendly "penny-ante" poker game and being dealt a really great hand only to have some rich stranger call your bet and raise you $100,000. Your hand is almost certainly a winner, but you can't afford to risk such a huge amount. Sadly, you must fold your hand and walk away.

"Winners pay too!"

Amazingly, under this "loser pays" legislation you could even win a legitimate law suit, but have to pay far more than you won in the suit to cover the cost of high priced lawyers for an insurance company, bank or large corporation! In the example above, if the company had offered $100,000 but you only won $75,000, you would still be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars - meaning you would end up owing money on
the case you won!

Bad for Republicans:

Mr. and Mrs. Republican: If your house burns down and the insurance company says "sorry, your policy doesn't cover this," would you risk whatever savings you have left to try to collect the money denied by the insurance company? What if your bank is careless causing your money to be stolen? If your parents are gypped out of half their retirement savings, could they risk the other half seeking to recover from Wall Street? And what lawyer would even represent you he or she could also be on the hook if your case was dismissed on procedural grounds, or based on disputed language in a contract or policy or for some other crazy reason?

Small business owners: If you are a sub-contractor, can you afford to risk bankruptcy to sue a contractor who did not pay you? If a supplier delivers faulty inventory or equipment, can you risk hundreds of thousands
of dollars to pay their expensive lawyers if you not win the suit - or not win enough?

The outcome of any lawsuit is unpredictable and the truth is that far more legitimate cases are lost than illegitimate lawsuits that are won. The bottom line is that far more Republicans in Texas will be hurt by this
"loser pays" legislation than those who will be helped.

A world without law suits may sound good, but would it be? If this legislation passes, insurance companies, banks and large companies would be practically immune from law suits. So how do you think will they treat you then? It's time to contact your representatives in Austin and say: "Hey, I voted for you, so you need to represent me and not just insurance companies, giant corporations and financial institutions.”

Greg B

I could not agree more with the post above- when political leaders try to close the court house- its bad for all Texas not just lawyers.
This pro-insurance bill and the lack of any regulation of claims handling practices will put Texas families on the defensive and be a terrible thing for Texas.
When the State Bar did not address the issue right away and do so with no doubt as to opposition it hurt all attorneys in Texas.
When the overwhelming majority of Texas judges say we have no frivolous lawsuit problem- the bar needs to stand up for justice and Texans rights.

Steve FIscher

Sorry for the poor sentence structure - I thought there would be an editing tool.

Steve FIscher

Guess who shares responsibility for this? We have 88,000 attys in Texas, most of us have spouses or family who vote. Some of us are prominent in our communities. Unfortunately we have a state bar run by elitist dinosaurs who according my atty state rep who chaired the Judiciary Comm, are counter-productive ( ie they automatically generate more No votes than yes) because legislators know most attys don't care for the bar (20% vote in Bar Elections). If we had a united bar that represented all attorneys and supported us, we would be a force in every single legislative district in Texas. I just won a contested bar seat running vs the status quo in a district I'm not even from. There should be more challengers next year ( they promised if I could win...) These elections are winnable -Help!

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