Civil Justice Reform in the Texas Legislature

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The Texas Legislature is currently considering House Bill 274, containing several measures that could alter the landscape of civil litigation. HB274 would, if enacted:

• Require the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules creating a motion-to-dismiss practice patterned on Rules 9 and 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Texas currently does not have a procedure that permits a dispositive motion for failure to state a claim)

• Permit a prevailing defendant to recover attorneys’ fees and costs when the trier of fact finds that the plaintiff has engaged in an “abusive civil action,” defined as an action that “a reasonable person would conclude is an abuse of the civil justice process.” The provision allows for recovery from a claimant’s attorney if the attorney has a financial interest in the case

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