Parker McDonald Says New TX "Loser Pays” Legislation Can Help Some Injured Parties by Speeding Compensation in Cases of Merit

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Texas law HB 274 is intended to cut down on frivolous lawsuits while encouraging defendants to settle meritorious claims. Parker McDonald lawyers urge people to be very diligent about selecting lawyers to represent them since the price tag could be hefty if plaintiff’s claims are found to have no basis in law or fact.

Toward the end of the regular legislative session in Texas last week, a bill (H.B. 274) became law that will affect plaintiffs throughout the state by allowing suits having no basis in law or fact to be dismissed early in the process, accessing attorney fees in those situations and speeding up civil action for smaller cases, among many other provisions.

A number of advocates expressed concerns that this law could give corporations the upper hand in lawsuits and prevent some individuals with legitimate claims from filing suit.

“Wronged parties---like personal injury cases from accidents, eminent domain issues, Texas property rights matters, and medical device implant recall situations---will always deserve their day in court,” said Dan McDonald, principal at Parker McDonald PC, a personal injury, hip implant, Texas property rights, and eminent domain law firm with offices in Fort Worth, Bedford, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. “This law cuts down on frivolous lawsuits while encouraging defendants to settle meritorious claims.”

“There are efficiencies in this bill that will pave the way for meaningful suits to continue and for discretion by the court in dismissing quickly those found groundless,” said Brad Parker, also a principal in the firm. “The vulnerabilities for plaintiffs arise if they don’t have the best counsel. We urge people to be very diligent about selecting lawyers to represent them since the price tag could be hefty if plaintiff’s claims are found to have no basis in law or fact.”

The law, meant to encourage timely settlements, reduce costs of litigation, yet assure that legitimate lawsuits are allowed to proceed, also mandates that the Supreme Court adopt rules which will expedite civil actions for cases less than $100,000.

“It’s an important move to speed compensation to genuine victims,” Mr. Parker stated.

Recent articles about the new legislation can be found in the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303654804576341783811532312.html) and Fort Worth Star-Telegram (http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/05/30/3114441/loser-pays-law-will-limit-frivolous.html). The bill in its entirety may be found at Texas Open Government (http://tx.opengovernment.org/sessions/82/bills/hb-274) or the State of Texas legislative website (http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/pdf/HB00274F.pdf#navpanes=0).

Parker McDonald, P.C. offers comprehensive legal services for clients whose personal, business or property rights have been adversely affected. Built on years of trial experience, Parker McDonald lawyers are dedicated to a tradition of personal service and timely delivery of outstanding results. The firm’s website is http://www.ParkerMcDonaldLaw.com.

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Erin McDonald
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