Lloyds of London imposed an insurance surcharge of 20 to 25 percent on any company doing business in Texas because of the high probability and excessive costs of lawsuits. Job creators cited the biased lawsuit environment as a reason not to locate or expand in Texas, and companies would not consider acquiring Texas businesses for fear of polluting their balance sheets with tort liabilities.
The litigation environment was causing doctors to retire early, close their high-risk specialties—including neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery and obstetrics—stop performing complex procedures or flee the state altogether.
Our unfair and dishonest legal system was ridiculed by lawyers and feared by job creators, healthcare providers and the people of Texas, who had lost faith in the legal system.
Then in 1994, several Texas business leaders decided to do something about it, and founded TLR. As volunteers, we organized the business community across the state to fight back against job-killing, abusive lawsuits. In the more than two decades since, TLR has helped pass the most comprehensive lawsuit reforms in the country, making Texas a model for common-sense reform. In fact, Texas has passed meaningful reforms in almost every legislative session since TLR was founded.
With principled reforms as part of our economic foundation, Texas’ economy has thrived, creating opportunities for families and job creators. Former Dallas Federal Reserve Chairman and CEO Richard Fisher put it this way, “the most important thing that generated 38 percent of our jobs [in Texas] is tort reform.” Industries that had been threatened by abusive lawsuits—such as healthcare, manufacturers, real estate developers and maritime shipping—continue to grow. Today, Texas is a national leader in medical research, technology, mining, exports and job growth. Doctors have flocked back to the state in droves, with more than 50,000 new doctors licensed since 2003, the year medical liability reform was enacted.
Enacting these reforms has been a monumental effort—a marathon, not a sprint. Every year, whether it’s a session year or an election cycle, we play both offense and defense.
During the legislative session, we play offense to shut down new abuses of the legal system. We also play defense against new causes of action and new theories of liability, as well as attempts to roll back our previous reforms. We have had 100% success in shutting down the personal injury trial lawyers’ job-killing agenda in the Legislature. And our work doesn’t stop once the legislative session is over.
Polling shows that Texans support common-sense lawsuit reform and believe lawsuit abuse is bad for the economy. We realize it is impossible to enact good legislation unless good men and women are elected to public office. And it is largely useless to enact good laws if we don’t have good judges and an efficient legal system to apply those laws. In order to ensure Texas elects leadership that shares our philosophy about a fair civil justice system, we created TLRPAC, the political arm of TLR, which has since grown to be the largest and most influential PAC in Texas.
Through TLRPAC, we play offense during the primaries and general election to pick up key seats in competitive races, as well as defense to protect strong tort reform legislators and candidates from serious personal injury trial lawyer attacks.
TLR’s work is never done. We need to stay ever vigilant because the personal injury trial lawyers never stop. Our efforts have kept Texas’ economy growing by allowing us to respond quickly each time a new abuse occurs, helping Texas remain a leader in civil justice reform. We hope you’ll join us in working to keep Texas courts fair, efficient and accessible.
Texas wouldn’t be the state it is today without lawsuit reform. And the lawsuit reform movement wouldn’t be what it is today without TLR.