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Eye on Texas Blog

Commentary: Abbott’s Settlement

As a young man, a falling tree struck Greg Abbott while he was jogging, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Until recently, Mr. Abbott, longtime Texas Attorney General turned gubernatorial candidate, hasn’t discussed the terms of a 1986 legal settlement he reached with the homeowner and a tree care company, which appears to have fairly and justly compensated Abbott for his economic losses, as well as his reduced quality of life.

But, on the political stage, Abbott has been a vocal supporter of legal restrictions that arbitrarily limit the right of Texans who are needlessly injured to seek the same type of fair compensation that Abbott received.

In an effort to justify this disconnect between his own experience and his political rhetoric, Abbott argues that someone who finds themselves in the same situation as he would be able to reach the same type of settlement he received. In fact, he recently said: “If there were someone jogging today, got hit by a tree today, suffered the same kind of accident today, they would have access to the very same remedies I had access to.”

This is a dangerously myopic view that ignores the reality that Abbott’s settlement was negotiated under the umbrella of a civil justice system far different than exists today. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog

How Do They Rank?

Speaker Joe Straus released the committee assignments for members of the Texas House today. There has been much shuffling and turnover in the House coming into the session. So, just how do the members of key committees rank on our latest scorecard based on key votes from the last legislative session? Take a look. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Press Releases

Either They Respect Juries – Or They Don’t

Curt Koenning with the self-styled Texans Against of Lawsuit Abuse recently implored Texans to heed the call for jury service. In an area of rare accord, we agree. Citizens must participate in the jury system. It is a fundamental civic duty and the foundation of our judicial system. But… (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

Mr. Koenning’s exhortation is pure hypocrisy. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Latest Headlines

Lobbyist-Driven Elimination of Legal Rights = You Lose

What is it about industry lobbyists that they can’t help but talk out of both sides of their mouths? They made a pack of promises to you, the voters, in 2003 about what they alleged would happen if voters approved a ballot proposition that severely and arbitrarily restricted the legal rights of Texas patients. Among them was that what you spend on health care would go down. All you had to do was agree to give up your ability to hold a careless nursing home, negligent hospital, or dangerous doctor accountable in court. Turns out, they lied. Now, they are trying to cover their tracks.


Eye on Texas Blog, Latest Headlines, Press Releases

The Court’s Defenders: Polluters, Big Insurance, Corporate Wrongdoers


On the heels of a 10-year review by Court Watch that found the Texas Supreme Court routinely sides with big government and big corporate interests over everyday Texans, the very special interests that benefit from the Court’s pro-defendant penchant rose to the court’s defense. None of the attacks, however, were able to discredit Court Watch’s findings or the report’s conclusions. Instead, critics are resorting to condescension and ad hominem attacks.The report, “Thumbs on the Scale: A Retrospective of the Texas Supreme Court, 2000-2010,” was released last week by Court Watch, a project of the Texas Watch Foundation. Among the report’s findings was that consumers lost an average of 79% of cases at the high court and that the court overturned 74% of local juries who found in favor of consumers. (more…)

Latest Headlines

AUDIO: The Texas Supreme Court Has a Profound Effect on the Everyday Lives of Texans

The Texas Supreme Court has a profound effect on the everyday lives of Texans. It is the court of last resort for non-criminal matters in the state. But according to a scathing report released this week by the advocacy group Texas Watch, over the last 10 years, the majority of Texas Supreme Court decisions have favored corporate interests over consumers. And the panel of judges, according to the report, has repeatedly overstepped its authority by overturning jury verdicts and interpreting the law to benefit the rich.

Listen: Texas Public Radio (Texas Matters, Segment 3)

Latest Headlines

Report: Texas Supreme Court Sides Against Consumers In 4 Out of 5 Cases

Last August, ThinkProgress highlighted a Texas Watch report showing that the Texas Supreme Court “sided with consumers in 27 percent of cases involving an individual against a corporation or government agency — and it reversed jury verdicts in 72 percent of cases.” A new report by that same organization shows that the court’s favoritism towards corporations is now even worse.

Read More: ThinkProgress

Latest Headlines

AUDIO: Texas Families Deserve a Fair Shake at Texas Supreme Court & They Aren’t Getting It

Listen to Court Watch director Alex Winslow talk about Court Watch’s latest report with Kristen Flowers of KTRH radio in Houston.

“Texas families deserve a fair shake when they go to the courthouse. And, when they make it to the highest court in the land, they’re just not getting that fair shake.”

Latest Headlines

Woe Is the Consumer Who Has to Go to the Texas Supreme Court

Woe is the injured consumer or medical patient in Texas who brings a lawsuit against a big corporation or the government. A new report out from the nonprofit advocacy group Texas Watch has taken a hard look at more than 600 decisions by the Texas Supreme Court over the past decade and found that consumers and plaintiffs are routinely taking it on the chin. And consumers are losing far more often in the court than they were before short-lived GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry became governor.

Since 2005, consumers have lost nearly 80 percent of Texas Supreme Court cases in which a consumer was pitted against a big corporation or the government. Most of the time, the consumer plaintiffs had already prevailed before a jury—the high court overturned jury verdicts in 74 percent of consumer cases, with very little dissent.

Texas Watch attributes the massive scale-tilting to the fact that the court is now dominated by judges who were appointed by Perry starting in 2000. Six of the nine judges on the all-Republican court were initially appointed by Perry. In Texas, the judges are elected, but when a vacancy occurs, a governor can appoint a judge to fill out the remaining term, a move that all but guarantees the judge will prevail in the general election. And in Texas, Republican judges who’ve wanted to retire have often done so mid-term, allowing Perry to appoint their replacements.

Read More: Mother Jones

Research & Reports
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 »

Court Watch
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 »