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The Terrible Texas 5: The Worst of the Corporate Immunity Agenda

Via Texas WatchPosted October 6, 2011
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Over the last decade, Texas politicians and lobbyists have enacted a series of devastating legal changes that severely restrict the legal rights of individuals, families, and small businessowners. These changes have made Texas a more dangerous place in which the value of accountability has been discarded.

Here are our picks for the Terrible Texas 5, a sampling of the worst of the corporate immunity agenda in our state.

  1. Arbitrary Damage Limits: Texas has imposed an arbitrary, one-size-fits-all restriction on what a patient can recover from a negligent physician’s liability insurance company. This effectively deprives many patients and their families of due process without fulfilling the promise to improve access to care for rural and under-served communities or to reduce the cost of care for families and taxpayers.
  2. Nursing Homes: Texas allows nursing homes to “go bare” and forgo liability insurance coverage altogether. Additionally, the Texas Supreme Court determined that virtually any claim against a nursing home — even spider bites and sexual assault — is considered medical negligence, giving nursing home operators even greater protections against accountability.  Texas ranks second-to-last in nursing home staffing ratios and a quarter of all nursing home facilities in Texas have the nation’s worst quality rating.
  3. Dangerous Products: Despite their claims to support local control, Texas politicians force state courts to defer to unelected, unaccountable federal bureaucrats to determine the safety of a product. If a product meets federal guidelines it is assumed to be safe. This deprives state judges and juries of their ability to independently determine the safety of a particular product.
  4. Asbestos Poisoning: Texas has placed severe restrictions on workers who have been poisoned by exposure to asbestos by imposing impairment criteria that exceed those established by medical authorities and placing stringent filing requirements on sickened workers.
  5. Winners Pay: In Texas, if a plaintiff rejects a defendant’s settlement offer so that he or she can make their case before a jury of their peers, they could be forced to pay a defendant’s legal costs even if they win in court. In other words, a plaintiff could bring a valid claim that is approved by a judge, have a jury rule in his or her favor and award damages — only to be forced to pay the wrongdoer’s legal costs, erasing the entire judgment in the process.

Learn more by reading our comprehensive report on how Texas politicians and lobbyists have imposed the corporate immunity agenda on Texas families.

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Research & Reports

The Texas Watch Foundation, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization, conducts research and public education activities on consumer law, consumer protection and civil justice issues. Read More »

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Court Watch

Court Watch, a program of the Foundation, documents the role and impact of the Texas civil court system on Texas families and Texas public policy. Read More »