Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) leaders are urging members of the Legislature to support Senate Bill 6 – the Pandemic Liability Protection Act – by State Sen. Kelly Hancock. The bill was considered in the Texas Senate's Business & Commerce Committee on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
“Unless the Legislature takes action, abusive and frivolous lawsuits will present a serious threat to employers and health care providers – and will undermine our state’s economic recovery from this pandemic,” said Amber Pearce, chair of CALA of Central Texas in Austin.
“We urge the Legislature to act as quickly as possible to pass Senate Bill 6.”
The legislation provides civil liability protections for health care providers, employers, non-profit entities, including schools, universities and religious institutions, and COVID-related product manufacturers that are following appropriate public health protocols.
At least 32 states have already enacted legislation similar to Senate Bill 6, according to the Texas Civil Justice League.
“As Texans work to rebuild and recover from the pandemic, the last thing they need to face is an abusive lawsuit,” said D’Anne Buquet, executive director of Bay Area CALA in Corpus Christi.
“Small businesses struggling to keep their doors open shouldn’t have to operate in fear of predatory personal injury lawyers and frivolous lawsuits.”
The grassroots, small business and citizen-led lawsuit reform movement – including Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse organizations across the state – include COVID-19 lawsuit protections and reforms to rein in abusive and costly commercial vehicle lawsuits as top priorities during this year’s Legislature.
The groups point to recent polling by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) that finds overwhelming bipartisan support for government aid to small businesses and agreement that lawsuits are not the solution to COVID-19 relief.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents to the ATRA survey say those harmed by the pandemic should get assistance from policies passed by elected officials, versus just 7 percent who say they should get payouts from lawsuits. Additional findings from the survey show a majority of voters polled agree law firms using PPP funds for lawsuit advertising is inappropriate, and 65 percent of respondents said personal injury lawyer advertisements are annoying and take advantage of people.
“The legislation provides civil liability protections for health care providers, employers, non-profit entities, including schools, universities and religious institutions, and COVID-related product manufacturers that are following appropriate public health protocols,” said Sergio Contreras, president/CEO of Rio Grande Valley CALA, based in Weslaco.
Despite the lack of public support for lawsuits related to COVID-19, personal injury lawyers’ advertisements have increased nationwide.