House Bill 1711 now makes its way to the Senate.
Under current law, a person can sue an attorney who secured a legal contract through barratry. A client who prevails in voiding a contract could recover attorney fees and expenses already paid to the lawyer, as well as actual damages and attorney fees.
The law also allows a barratry victim who didn't sign a legal contract to sue "any person who committed barratry" and win a $10,000 penalty from each violator, actual damages and attorney fees.
HB 1711 tweaks the law by enabling the client who signed a contract to also recover the $10,000 penalty, even if the lawyer already voluntarily voided the contract.
After an initial public hearing on March 11, the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee unanimously passed a committee substitute for HB 1711 on March 25. The substitute added a provision that says actions under the barratry law aren’t subject to the expedited action process in Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 169.
HB 1711 author Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment.
-- Angela Morris