The Latest Litigation 'Crisis'
First malpractice, now asbestos gotta stop those greedy trahl lawyuhs'!
From a political perspective, the bill is designed to hit trial lawyers in the pocketbook and thus shrink a valuable campaign funding source for Democratic candidates. At the other end of the spectrum, the efforts of Texans for Lawsuit Reform have been shown to benefit insurance companies and large corporations, thereby guaranteeing a steady flow of dollars to the Republican Party.
The Texas Trial Lawyers Association has two words for the tort reformers: "Asbestos kills." As proof, TTLA points to federal criminal indictments issued last month against W.R. Grace and Co. and seven of its former and current executives. They stand accused of "knowingly and negligently" exposing 200 employees since deceased to asbestos-contaminated minerals at the company's mining operations in Libby, Mont. TTLA also challenges the reformers' claims of a litigation crisis in Texas, noting that only 1,338 individual asbestos-related claims have been filed in the state since September 2003, while some 35,000 older cases are moving through the system toward resolution. Just for comparison purposes, the group cites the Texas Office of Court Administration's records on the number of pending divorce and family law cases as of Aug. 31, 2004. At that time, the number stood at 233,658.