Photo of Brant Stogner

The Texas House of Representatives this week has passed a bill that is being called the "loser pays" bill. Proponents of this bill are touting the necessity of the bill by misleading the general public into thinking that this bill is only aimed at "frivolous" lawsuits. The goal of the bill, according to those that support it, is to "make those who file frivolous lawsuits responsible for paying the defense costs of the innocent defendant." However, this bill does much more and, if passed, will likely close the courthouse doors for many Texans and small businesses that operate in Texas.

As part of the "tort deform" of 2003, laws were passed that mandated that if a plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) turns down a settlement offer and later gets a jury verdict that is less than 80% of the settlement offer, the plaintiff must pay the other side's legal costs from the date of the offer. The goal was clear - force plaintiffs to settle rather than have their day in court, and punish the plaintiffs that receive less from the jury than was offered in settlement. This new bill has a much more nefarious purpose, and will likely have a more drastic effect.

The "loser pays" bill is also intentionally misnamed. In a true loser pays system, the party that lost the lawsuit would have to pay the legal fees and costs of the party that prevailed. That is also known as the "English Rule." This applies equally to both parties - plaintiff and defendant. Whichever party loses - that party has to pay for the other side's costs and expenses. However, according to Governor Perry, "Texas needs a 'loser pays' component to our legal system, in which those who sue and lose are required to pay the court costs and legal expenses of those they sued." Either Governor Perry doesn't understand what loser pays means, or he, and other supporters of this bill, are intentionally trying to mislead Texans. This is what the law calls fraud.

This Texas bill is not loser pays; rather, this is "if the plaintiff loses, the plaintiff pays." If the plaintiff prevails, this bill does not provide any authority that would require the defendant to pay the plaintiff's legal fees and costs. Why not? If the defendant lost in a loser pays system, shouldn't the defendant have to pay the plaintiff's legal fees and costs? Logic and an understanding of the English language would say "absolutely." However, Gov. Perry is not interested in being accurate in the description of the bill, he is interested in protecting defendants and, ultimately, insurance companies. Indeed, this bill is blatantly one-sided and clearly aimed at protecting the interests of the insurance companies - to the detriment of every Texas citizen. Make no mistake, this bill is aimed at intimidating people from invoking their Constitutional 7th Amendment right to a trial by jury. This is not aimed at frivolous lawsuits - it is aimed at all lawsuits and all Texans.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories