Tort reform group puts Texas appellate court on ‘Watch List’
DALLAS – No venues in Texas made the American Tort Reform Foundation’s latest Judicial Hellholes report; however, the group did put the state’s Fifth Court of Appeals on its “Watch List.”
One of fourteen appellate courts in Texas, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas hears cases from numerous counties, including Dallas and Collin Counties.
ATRF’s report asserts the Fifth Court has developed a reputation for being pro-plaintiff and pro-liability expansion, repeatedly misapplying established U.S. Supreme Court and state precedents and procedures, which require review and reversal by the Texas Supreme Court.
“In the first half of 2022 alone, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously overturned five Fifth Court decisions that addressed significant civil justice issues,” the report states. “The Fifth Court consistently (and wrongly) sided each time with plaintiffs and expanded liability.”
The report asserts the Fifth Court has repeatedly refused to provide defendants relief in appeals challenging overbroad discovery orders.
“For example, an appellate panel refused to vacate a discovery order that required the defendant company to produce over 1,000 documents in a case stemming from an ordinary roadside accident,” the report states.
“The defendants argued that complying with the discovery order required the company to complete over 3,000 hours of document review and would cost the company $58,000. Despite the extensive costs to the defendant, the panel denied relief in a single-page opinion.”
The report also cites a Fifth Court decision to uphold a $194.4 million judgment against Toyota despite procedural and evidentiary concerns raised by the automaker.