Tort reform among issues for Beaumont attorneys running for Congress

David Yates May 22, 2012, 5:28am


Although aspiring politicians Jay Old Jr. and Michael Truncale agree tort reform has had a positive effect in Texas, neither candidate will seek to implement reform on a national level if elected to the U.S. House of Representatives 14th Congressional District.

The Beaumont attorneys announced their candidacy for the Republication primary last year for the newly drawn Texas Congressional District 14, which includes all of Jefferson and Galveston counties and portions of Brazoria County. Incumbent Ron Paul (R-Lake Jackson) is not seeking reelection.

While Old acknowledges that the "bulk" of Texas tort reforms "have been good for business," he believes "Texas should decide tort law, not the federal government."

During an interview, Old told the Southeast Texas Record he considers turning tort reform over to the federal government a "mistake."

"The last thing Texas needs is to have a bunch of liberals running the show," Old said, adding that turning control over to the federal government can have an adverse impact.

If elected, Old will primarily focus on job growth, fiscal restraint and lowering taxes.

The other Beaumont attorney running for the nomination, Truncale, is also not in favor of trying to bring Texas tort reforms to Washington.

Although Truncale said he is an advocate of tort reform, especially concerning the areas of medical-malpractice, he told the Record he will focus on the major issues first, which include a balanced budget amendment, lowering taxes, stopping excessive regulation and putting an end to ObamaCare.

However, during an Aug. 15 interview, Keats Norfleet, a spokesperson working on Truncale's campaign at that time, told the Southeast Texas Record that Truncale has always been "very pro tort reform" and is a huge supporter of Texas' past and recent tort reform efforts.

Norfleet said Truncale would seize "any opportunity to pursue" tort reform on a national level, if elected.

Truncale, an attorney for the Orgain, Bell & Tucker law firm, is a board certified in personal injury trial law.

His campaign raised $434,933.59, according to Most of Truncale's contributions came from health professionals ($37,100) and lawyers/law firms ($24,418).

Old has been a civil defense attorney for more than 22 years, and is a partner at Germer Gertz LLP in Beaumont.

He has raised $602,993.46. Old's biggest contributors are Modern Group, a Beaumont industrial manufacturing company, which donated $24,250, and Oil Field Services, which gave his campaign $15,000.

In addition to Beaumont's Old and Truncale, the District 14 Republican ballot is crowded with candidates.

Other Republicans on the ballot are:

  • John Gay, school district administrator, Dickinson
  • Robert Gonzale, computer analyst, Tea Party activist, Friendswood
  • George Harper, petrochemical engineer, Tea Party activist, Brazoria
  • Felicia Harris, attorney, Pearland city council member, Pearland
  • Mark Mansius, process control engineer, West Columbia
  • Bill Sargent, retired Navy officer, former Congressional aide, election official in Galveston County, Galveston
  • Randy Weber, State Representative Dist. 29, Pearland

    Weber has raised $416,138 in donations from law firms and members of the finance, insurance and real estate industries.

    One of these Republicans will face Democrat Nick Lampson in November. Lampson, 67, of Beaumont, represented Texas's 9th congressional district from 1997 to 2005. After a controversial mid-decade redistricting, he lost his congressional seat in 2004 to Republican Ted Poe, a Houston judge.

    In 2006, Lampson was elected to Congress to represent the heavily Republican 22nd district, once represented by the former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay. He was defeated by Pete Olson in 2008 in his re-election bid.

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