Texas Bill Requiring Loser-Pays Rule in Lawsuits Is Drafted with Push from Governor
Posted Mar 11, 2011 6:48 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
In his State of the State address in February, Texas Gov. Rick Perry endorsed a loser-pays system that would require “those who sue” to pay attorney fees.
Now he’s pushing a loser-pays bill that is in the draft stages, the New York Times reports.
Still unclear is whether the bill would apply equally to plaintiffs and defendants. GOP lawmakers suggested in an op-ed in the Midland Reporter-Telegram that only plaintiffs would be on the hook, and only in limited circumstances. “A plaintiff should be required to pay the defendant's legal fees in cases where a court determines that a lawsuit is groundless or where a jury determines a suit is frivolous,” the op-ed says.
But Jenni Sellers, chief of staff for one of the lawmakers, C. Brandon Creighton, said he thinks loser-pays should apply to both plaintiffs and defendants. He believes “it’s a two-way street,” she said.
The op-ed says Alaska has one of the nation’s longest-standing loser-pays provisions, and tort suits there make up only 5 percent of civil litigation in the state, about half the national average.