Check out this short video produced by the Center for American Progress. Using personal stories of everyday Texans, it powerfully demonstrates the devastating impact severe restrictions on access to our courts have had on families from every corner of our state. The film features Texas Watch citizen activists, as well as our Executive Director Alex Winslow.
A sharply divided Supreme Court of Texas handed down an opinion today that is devastating for workers exposed to cancer-causing asbestos. In Bostic v. Georgia-Pacific, the Court creates an exceptionally high causation standard for asbestos-related cancer cases, effectively blocking many workers and their families from having their day in court. (See Case No. 10-0775, majority, concurrence, dissent.)
Alex Winslow, Executive Director of Texas Watch, a citizen advocacy organization active on civil justice issues, stated:
“The Texas Supreme Court is closing the courthouse doors for workers who are going to die a terrible death simply because they showed up for work and did their job. This decision breaks the promise of meaningful accountability for workers who, through no fault of their own, were poisoned by asbestos-laden products. In the words of Justice Lehrmann, this opinion ‘does not just offend logic – it offends justice.’” (more…)
In this edition of the News of the Week: Senators take testimony on the response to the West disaster, the State Fire Marshal issues a report detailing ways to improve safety after West, nursing home residents face abuse and neglect at an alarming rate with little recourse for repeat offenders, and a video about the importance of class action lawsuits in protecting consumers. (more…)
Access to the civil justice system is a fundamental right. It is embedded in our constitution because no one is above the law and everyone should be held to account for their actions.
But, the folks over at the self-styled Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s PAC of CEOs and lobbyists just can’t seem to understand that.
In an effort to reinforce their failing agenda and scare candidates away from supporting meaningful accountability reforms that help Texas families and small businesses, TLR has released the “results” of a new push-poll that conveniently ignores the impact of their agenda on everyday Texans. Instead they attack lawyers … again.
Because they have no other option. The fact is that the vast majority of Texans believe they should have access to our courts when they are harmed. And, they want to be able to hire an attorney to represent their interests. Particularly when an insurance company treats them unfairly. (more…)
At a breakfast next week at the swanky Four Seasons hotel in Austin, Texas Supreme Court justices will be feted by special interest lobbyists and political benefactors representing Big Insurance, Big Pharma, and Big Oil. Wanna go? (more…)
Some people saw it as a critical health and safety issue: Up to 20,000 farm workers per year were getting poisoned by agricultural pesticides, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and new regulations were needed to protect them.
But there was another side to the argument, and Rick Perry took it.
“American business in general, and American agriculture specifically, have had enough of bureaucracy at both the federal and state levels, but especially bureaucracy out of Washington,” Perry said at a congressional hearing. “The men and women who feed and clothe this nation are suffocating under the weight of mounting federal regulations.” (more…)
In the ritual of modern disaster politics, catastrophes are closely followed by elected officials on the scene to praise local grit and promise swift relief.
Serious remedies and sweeping reforms, in many instances, arrive next.
The aftermath of the April 17 explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. proved in part to be no exception. Within days of the blast, President Barack Obama came to McLennan County. So did Gov. Rick Perry and both U.S. senators from Texas.
Relief has come in the form of government checks. The town is rebuilding.
Major reforms, however, have yet to be designed, much less implemented. (more…)
Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, already the longest-serving member of the state’s highest civil court, has the dubious distinction of owning another record: the longest running appeal of a state ethics fine. (more…)
Nathan Hecht, the recently sworn-in Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, is a disgrace: a judge who ignores the spirit of the law. For five years now, he has appealed a $29,000 fine assessed by the Texas Ethics Commission. The commission says that Hecht received a discount for his legal bills with the firm Jackson Walker, which, according to the commission, amounted to a campaign contribution. It is now the longest-running appeal of a state ethics fine. (more…)
With an apparently straight face, the self-styled Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s CEO Dick Weekley claims in a recent opinion piece published by the Washington Examiner that Texans are better off when corporate interests are free to cause needless financial, physical, and emotional harm without fear of accountability.
How can it be that eliminating accountability for polluters, careless nursing homes, insurance companies, Wall Street bankers, and big drug makers is good for the public? The answer is that it can’t be. (more…)