Smart-minded reforms passed by the Texas Legislature over the past two decades have fought against frivolous lawsuits, abusive legal practices, and unreasonable damage awards, contributing to a business climate that continues to create new jobs in our state. What’s more, landmark Texas medical liability reforms have helped result in more physicians practicing in underserved areas.
But a not-so-rosy picture is emerging in other areas. Each year the American Tort Reform Foundation publishes its Judicial Hellholes, a report highlighting the most egregious abuses in the civil justice system across the U.S. Thanks to the Texas Court of Appeals for the Fifth District, Texas once again finds itself on the report’s Watch List.
The latest Judicial Hellholes report sends a warning signal, reminding us that a vigilant defense against lawsuit abuse is a year-round and ongoing priority for voters, legislators, and our justice system.
The Dallas-based Court of Appeals for the Fifth District lands on this year’s Watch List for repeatedly misapplying established U.S. Supreme Court and state precedents and procedures, requiring review and reversal by the Texas Supreme Court.
During the first six months of 2022, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously overturned five Fifth Court decisions. Clearly, our system allows for appeals and reviews of lower court verdicts, but the extent to which the higher court has rejected the Fifth Court should raise eyebrows.
To some, making such legal mistakes that are overturned may not seem like a big deal, but it is. A court that is known for questionable decisions or that fails to apply the law in a fair and even-handed manner is cause for concern. These types of mistakes can have a significant and serious impact on our civil justice system, and damaging that system can undermine our economy, cost Texas jobs, and hurt consumers.
We’ve worked hard to promote a civil justice system in Texas that is fair and just. As the Fifth Court and its Watch List designation indicates, Texas can’t rest on past success. Voters and our state lawmakers should keep a watchful eye on abuses in our civil justice system.
To find out more about why the Fifth Court remained on the Watch List, CLICK HERE.