Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Texas AG candidates should sign ATRA transparency pledge

As voters return to the polls for this year’s General Election, Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) is calling on all candidates for Attorney General to prioritize transparency and open accountability in office.

The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) has contacted Attorney General Ken Paxton and his challenger, Rochelle Garza, asking that they sign a pledge to embrace a general transparency code for the Office of the Attorney General operations. TALA encourages both candidates to sign that pledge and to commit to a principle of transparency in the AG’s office.

The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) developed the Transparency Code as a collection of model policies that should govern the use of outside counsel by state attorneys general.

In 1999, Texas passed a law relating to how and when the state government could use outside counsel on litigation.

The law requires the state to attempt to handle all litigation through in-house counsel. It outlines how an agency should handle contracting for outside counsel when it’s necessary to use lawyers outside of those employed by the state, requiring a contracting agency first to seek an hourly fee arrangement.

In passing that law more than two decades ago, a bipartisan group of state leaders made transparency and accountability a top priority.

Learn more about the law and the renewed push for transparency and accountability at tala.com.

To see which leaders in other states have signed the Transparency Code, visit AGsunshine.com.

Before Voting on Election Day, Learn Where Your Candidates Stand on the Issues

Do you know where your candidates stand on lawsuit abuse?  Do your candidates support the lawsuit reforms that Texas lawmakers have enacted over the years to rein in frivolous lawsuits, unreasonable damage awards, and questionable legal practices? 

What do you know about the judicial candidates on your ballot?  Do they have the experience to preside over a court?  Will they apply the law as written or legislate from the bench?

Before Election Day on November 8, 2022, take the time to learn more about the individuals whose names will be on your ballot.  Find out more about where your candidates stand on the reforms that have helped strengthen our economy, create and sustain Texas jobs, and attract new doctors to our state. 

Doing your pre-Election Day homework should also include learning more about the judicial candidates on your ballot.  The decisions of even one judge who decides to make law instead of applying the law as written can threaten positive legislative advances that are benefiting our state and Texans.  Good judges matter to all of us.

Early voting starts on October 24 and ends on November 4, 2022. Click HERE to find out where your polling place is located.

For This and Every Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week,

Stopping Lawsuit Abuse Starts With You!

The first week of October 2022 is Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week. If you’re wondering, “What does that mean for me?” Or, “How does that affect me?” The answer is, “It Starts With You!”

We all share in the responsibility to stop lawsuit abuse and to support a legal system grounded in common sense. Each of us can do our part by serving on a jury when called, reporting ambulance chasing or the illegal solicitation of clients by a lawyer, and making the decision not to pursue a questionable lawsuit.

Being a savvy legal consumer is also important for those times you do need legal help. See our Legal Consumer Guide for more.

Many of us may remember that Texas once was the wild west of frivolous lawsuits and outrageous damage awards. Much of that has changed, thanks to Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse supporters like you, as well as other advocates and lawmakers who enacted legislative reforms at the Texas Capitol.

Lawsuit reform = improved economy + jobs

That progress and our improved legal climate have helped bolster our economy and create Texas jobs. Thanks to the reform of our medical liability laws, we have more doctors practicing in our state, including more in underserved areas.

But all of that can change quickly. So, it’s on all of us to continue to fight against any abuse of our justice system, support additional legislation that may be needed, and protect the reforms we’ve worked so hard for over the years.

On the eve of another election, there is one more important action you can take: Find out where your candidates stand on lawsuit abuse before stepping into the voting booth on November 8, 2022 to cast your ballot. Make it a point to ask your candidates, “Do you support lawsuit reform? Do you commit to protecting the reforms in place?”

It really does start with you!

If we all hold our candidates and elected officials accountable, we’re less apt to return to the “bad old days” when junk lawsuits and outlandish damage awards made Texas the poster child for lawsuit abuse, costing us all. Because, as we all know, when it comes to lawsuit abuse, we all pay – and we all lose.

Patent Trolls Find Fertile Ground in Texas

Posted in the Southeast Texas Record

Posted on September 13th, 2022

By Roger Borgelt

Texas once was the Wild West of lawsuit abuse. Over time, it transformed into a beacon of reform, ending many of the most egregious examples of lawsuit abuse.

But the bad guys have a way of resurfacing, and sure enough, new villains are here, right in our backyard: patent trolls. In recent years, these patent trolls and their army of high-powered lawyers have descended upon Waco, Texas.

Why Waco? It’s where they’ve found a welcoming federal court and judge.

In the internet sense, trolling involves harassment with an intent to harm. In the case of patent trolls, it’s legal harassment and meritless lawsuits that come with the threat of billions in phony damages for false charges of patent infringement.

Patent trolls threaten the real Texas and American job creators and innovators, and it’s not the first time they’ve tried to capitalize on a friendly judge and courtroom in Texas. The Eastern District of Texas was once their preferred venue, landing Texas on the American Tort Reform Association’s Judicial Hellholes list in 2016, noting that 40% of all patent troll cases that year were filed in the Eastern District.

Patent trolls do not research, develop, make, or sell anything related to the patents they argue have been infringed. They are created to file lawsuit after lawsuit, claiming to represent the little guy while they work to line the pockets of some lawyers, hedge funds, and big foreign corporations.

Many trolls are nothing more than shell companies, funded and created by hedge funds or foreign companies. Patent trolls are filing hundreds of cases, creating a spike in courts across Texas, but nothing like the staggering case numbers in the Waco courtroom of Judge Alan Albright, who has rolled out the welcome mat for patent and intellectual property lawsuits.

In 2020, the district saw a tidal wave of new patent infringement cases, a jump of 350 percent over the previous year, according to reporting by Texas Lawbook. Waco is now the go-to court in the U.S. to litigate these patent troll disputes.

These suits squeeze technology companies for big payouts, threatening them with costly, often prolonged lawsuits and awards that are wildly out of line with their claims.

Meritless patent troll lawsuits exact high costs on America’s job creators and true tech innovators. Patent troll lawsuits reduce R&D investment by U.S. companies, slowing innovation and undermining U.S. leadership in technology. But it’s not just the most prominent technology firms under attack. An estimated 60% of patent litigation filed by patent trolls targets businesses with less than $100 million in annual revenues.

These cases are lawsuit abuse to an extreme, hitting some of Texas’ and America’s real innovators and biggest job creators. And they are doing actual harm to our state’s business climate. A study found that these lawsuits were associated with half a trillion dollars of losses to companies targeted from 1990-2010. The median damages awarded in patent litigation have climbed from $1.9 million in 2010 to $10.2 million in 2017.

Patent trolls most recently exploited the pandemic to line their pockets. Patent troll abuse extended into critical healthcare technologies, including ventilators and Covid-19 tests.

We should be finding ways to stop these frivolous patent lawsuits while ensuring legitimate claims still get their day in court.

It’s time for Texans to call out these patent trolls for their destructive and unscrupulous ways. It’s time for increased scrutiny as to why Waco is so friendly to these patent trolls and their lawyers.

As we work to recover our businesses and our economy from this pandemic, we don’t need patent trolls wreaking havoc on our state’s reputation as wide open for business. It’s time to ensure courts like Waco and others are used for justice, not greed.

Roger Borgelt is an attorney and Board Member of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas.