Texas Tort Reform Summary

The latest issue of Medical Liability Monitor does a good job of summarizing the latest Texas tort reforms that went into effect September 1, 2011.  These reforms, known as House Bill 274, are connected to 2003’s House Bill 4, legislation that put Texas on the leading edge of medical liability tort reform.  The following reforms are part of HB 274: 

  • Adopts rules allowing a defendant to move for dismissal of a case before discovery begins.
  • Loser pays provisions related to a motion to dismiss, allowing the prevailing party to recover costs and reasonable attorney fees from the losing party under certain scenarios.
  • Removes several impediments to obtaining interlocutory appeal.
  • Several provisions designed to encourage settlement.
  • Eliminates an existing provision allowing defendants to identify, and plaintiffs to join, a responsible third party after the statute of limitations has ended.

Will these reforms allow claims that have merit to reach a judgment more quickly?  Will they reduce medical liability insurance costs?  Will they reduce health care costs?  Are there other reforms that should be implemented?  Should other states follow Texas’ lead?  Let us know what you think.