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Texas: remedy for wrongful litigation needed



Texas is famous for having enacted some of the nation's strongest laws aimed at curbing litigation, yet as Texans for Lawsuit Reform notes, there is a hole in the donut, an inexplicable and deplorable gap:

It always comes as a surprise to Texans that there is no remedy against a plaintiff who brings a money damages lawsuit that has no merit whatsoever, which is filed primarily to harass, intimidate, extort a settlement, or achieve some other wrongful purpose. This continues to be true, despite all of the reforms enacted by the Texas Legislature and our state's courts over the last fifteen years to discourage non-meritorious and abusive litigation.

None of those reforms directly affect the truly extreme case where a lawsuit is primarily filed for an improper purpose and when it is clear that there are no facts or no law to justify the lawsuit.

To deal with this extreme and unusual kind of case, TLR proposes that the Legislature adopt an effective remedy by updating the long-established Texas "malicious prosecution" cause of action by adopting the updated principles published by the American Law Institute (ALI) in Section 674 of its "Restatement (Second) of Torts." The ALI is a respected national group of lawyers and scholars whose recommendations are considered persuasive to both courts and legislatures.

Rather than the somewhat misleading term "Malicious Prosecution" (which sounds like a criminal law issue), the ALI uses the more descriptive term, "Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings."...

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.