"Loser pays" is a winner

The SE Texas Record May 12, 2011, 5:26am

"All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come." – Victor Hugo

It must be an idea whose time has come. "Loser pays," that is.

It makes perfect sense, of course, but, then, it always has. However, its passage has become possible only recently – and now is imminent.

Ideas are like that, though. No matter how good they are, they don't gain acceptance until their time has come.

Let's not lament the long delay. Let's be glad it's here at last. And it is here.

The "loser pays" bill that the Texas House of Representatives passed last Saturday now goes to the Senate, where it is also likely to pass and then be signed by its most ardent supporter, Gov. Rick Perry.

House Bill 274 allows winning parties to recover litigation costs in breach of contract suits and in dismissed cases without contractual agreements for attorneys' fees. It's not as strong or comprehensive as originally hoped, but it's a definite step in the right direction.

"I applaud the House and Rep. Brandon Creighton's leadership for moving Texas one step closer to implementing a loser pays system that will help expedite legitimate legal claims and crack down on junk lawsuits," Gov. Perry declared.

"This legislation will also protect Texas jobs and stimulate economic opportunity by relieving Texans and employers of the costs and burdens created by frivolous and drawn-out lawsuits," Perry predicted, encouraging the Senate to "quickly take action on this important legislation."

The House measure passed 89-12, with 47 members absent. That's right, 47 members absent! And they call themselves representatives? Exactly whom were they representing in their absence?

Following a recent nationwide trend, Democrats walked out en masse to protest their inability to defeat a proposal with overwhelming popular support.

The reason it could not be defeated: Its time had come.

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